The Junior League of Long Beach’s Kids in the Kitchen program began eight years ago as an opportunity to demonstrate to kids and their families the importance of proper nutrition and exercise. Over time this program has evolved to include partners who address the barriers low-income families encounter in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. The current KITK program consists of a free event featuring tasty snacks prepared by professional chefs, recipes, health and nutrition education, live music, food, dance and exercise demonstrations, an array of games, goodie bags, and free dental and medical screenings. Children and their families are inspired to take recipes home and make healthy meals together, start an herb garden or commit to becoming more physically fit.
- Healthy Active Long Beach
- Miller Children’s Hospital
- Miller Family Safety Coalition (in partnership with Kohl’s Cares)
- Children’s Dental Health Clinic
- St. Mary Medical Center
- Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach
- Long Beach Council PTA
How it works
JLLB is working to build upon the success of their annual event by extending their message, growing their existing partnerships, and establishing new partnerships with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Long Beach and the Long Beach Council PTA. They will also collaborate with key stakeholders in these organizations to determine the best way to incorporate their Kids in the Kitchen activities into existing afterschool programs, thereby spreading the KITK message throughout the year, with their annual event serving as the culmination of the year’s efforts.
What’s the impact?
JLLB’s Kids in the Kitchen program has served more than 4,400 children and families since the program began in 2006, inspiring families and spreading the importance of making healthy food choices and being active. Each year, attendance, number of vendor partners, and quality of programming has improved, with the latest attendance count at nearly 1,000 participants, 24 vendors, and 31 booths (7 event booths were developed, managed, and hosted by JLLB volunteers). JLLB has also increased low-income families’ access to health and dental screenings, as well as referrals to Medi-Cal (California Medical Assistance Program) and CalFresh (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). In their first year offering Medi-Cal, they referred more than 10 percent of program participants.