Nutrition Works, a program of Jannus, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, is committed to the wellness, healthy growth and development of children. We offer support and training to child care providers and afterschool care programs so they can serve nutritious foods and teach healthy eating habits to the children in their care. Nutrition Works is contracted through Idaho’s State Department of Education (SDE) and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to administer the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), often referred to as the "Food Program."
Nutrition Works has been an Idaho Food Program sponsor since 1996 when we partnered with our first child care home in southern Idaho. Our sponsoring coverage area expanded to southeastern Idaho in 2001, and in 2005 we began sponsoring child care centers. In 2015 Nutrition Works started sponsoring program sites offering at-risk afterschool meals.
Nutrition Works currently administers the Food Program to child care home providers and child care centers in Idaho regions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 as well as at-risk afterschool programs in southern Idaho.
Our goals as a Food Program sponsor are:
- To feed nutritious meals to children in child care
- To instill healthy eating habits at a young age
- To provide nutrition training and resources to child care providers
Meet the Nutrition Works Team
Anji Armagost, Program Director
Anji has been leading the Nutrition Works team as Program Director since 2013. Prior to becoming Director, she served as a Program Monitor, which she continues to do in Boise and Twin Falls. Anji took great interest in the Food Program while Director of Sandcastles Learning Center, a child care center in Boise. She began implementing the Food Program to address the need for better nutrition and regular meals for the children in their care. Previously, Anji has worked as an Intensive Behavioral Interventionist for children with disabilities and as Residential Services Manager at Women’s and Children’s Alliance. Anji is passionate about advocating for and serving others—especially children and families.
Patty Ahrens, Food Program Specialist
Patty has been a Food Program Specialist with Nutrition Works since 2005. She’s worked in the field of early care and education for over 25 years. During those years, Patty has been a Montessori preschool teacher, a family child care specialist with Child Care Connections, the Early Childhood/Immunization Policy Assistant for former Idaho governor, Dirk Kempthorne, and the Immunization Education Project Director with Jannus. Patty worked briefly for Boise State University in the College of Health Sciences Center for the Study of Aging. She is a founding board member of the Twiga Foundation, Inc. Patty is co-author of two early childhood development books--Tangling with Toddlers and Beginning with Babies.
Kelli Jeffress, Program Assistant and Food Program Monitor
Kelli joined Nutrition Works in 2018 as Program Assistant and Food Program Monitor. For more than 19 years Kelli worked for the Treasure Valley YMCA in a variety of roles, primarily focusing on youth development. She’s worked with children of all ages from birth to teens through the YMCA’s diverse youth programming. In addition to her experience at the YMCA, Kelli is an active member of the community, serving as a board member of the Treasure Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, where she served as chair for their annual Week of the Young Child event. Since 2011 she has volunteered with teens in the Caldwell community as a ‘Youth in Government’ Advisor, empowering youth to get involved in Government at the State level. Kelli is fluent in Spanish and serves as Program Monitor in the following areas: Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, and Kuna.
Mandy McCord Collins, Assistant Director and Food Program Monitor
Mandy has a rich background of working in the food industry and in early childhood education. Most recently, she owned and directed a child care center in Eagle. She grew this business from her home child care business, which she ran for three years while also attaining her Masters of Business Administration from Boise State University. While managing her home child care, Mandy participated in the Food Program through Nutrition Works, using the Minute Menu software. Prior to her work in early childhood education, Mandy had a career in the highly regulated wine industry in California for 10 years. Mandy works as a Program Monitor in the following areas: Meridian, Kuna, Nampa, Caldwell, Payette, and Emmett.
Cassie Packer, Food Program Monitor
Cassie returned to Nutrition Works in 2015. She had previously worked for Nutrition Works as a Monitor in 2005/2006. She is excited to be back as a part of the Nutrition Works team and loves what this program provides to young children. Cassie is also a Registered Nurse (RN) and has been involved with volunteer programs that serve children with disabilities. She brings with her expertise in the food program and a passion for healthy children and nutritious meals. Cassie serves as a Program Monitor in the following areas: Rigby, Rexburg, St. Anthony, and Driggs.
Melissa Smicker, Communications Specialist
Melissa has served as Food Program Monitor, Program Assistant, and Communications Specialist for Nutrition Works since 2015. She holds a Master of Science degree in Nutrition Education from American University. Prior to joining the Nutrition Works team, Melissa worked in advocacy and volunteer management for non-profit organizations in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Melissa is committed to advocating for and investing in early childhood health and nutrition.
Cheryl Thomas, Food Program Monitor
Cheryl has been a Food Program Monitor for Nutrition Works for more than 10 years. She brings with her expertise in the food program and a passion for healthy children and nutritious meals. Previously, she worked as a nurse in both the hospital and office settings where nutrition was her focus in her patient care. She has 5 children with whom she has practiced feeding healthy meals to for many years. Cheryl serves as a Program Monitor in the following areas: Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, American Falls, Pocatello, Burley/Rupert, and Bear Lake.