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Every Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Corpening Memorial YMCA in Marion is offering free meals to any child 18 and under.

The meals will take place in the first multipurpose room at the YMCA, and a Y membership is not required to participate. There will also be fun activities like arts and crafts, book club and rock climbing during this time.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally funded program administered and funded by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. The program ensures that eligible children and adults who attend qualifying facilities receive nutritious meals.

More than 1.6 million people are food insecure in North Carolina. This means they lack reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. Many of our neighbors also live in food deserts, areas where it's difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.

The Y is working hard to bridge this gap and provide access to the community. The Healthy Living Mobile Kitchens and Mobile Market distribute fresh food along with information on how to store it and practical, cost-effective cooking lessons, reaching more than 300 families each month.

During the academic year, meals are vended by McDowell Hospital and Sam's Club. During the summer, the Y works with Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, McDowell Hospital, Green Opportunities, Pardee Hospital and US Foods.

For more information on accessing food or volunteering, visit www.ymcawnc.org/nutritionprograms

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