This summer, I am partnering with the ConAgra Foods’ Hunger-Free Summer campaign with Feeding America. This summer, 26 food banks in 18 states will use Hunger-Free Summer grants, funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation – ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 – to expand their summer feeding program, bringing more healthy meals to more children during the summer. Their goal is to reach at least 25 percent more children in need during the summer than before, over the course of five years.
Part of my summer participation in this program I had an opportunity to visit a local City Harvest site in Washington Heights, New York City. I was able to see first hand one of their amazing Healthy Neighborhood programs, the family Nutrition Education Course in action.
The Healthy Neighborhoods programs through City Harvest are working to put good nutritious food on the table for New Yorkers in need, and help inspire long-term change in the fight against hunger. The family nutrition education course I visited meets twice a week for five weeks, and had 10 moms and 15 kids participating. During the course City Harvest offers the attendees free nutrition education and activities focused on buying, preparing and eating healthy foods.
The kids loved using the blender to make fresh mango salsa to have with their healthy lunch. All of the ingredients for these meals have been donated by local partners found through City Harvest. The smells in the room were awesome. The kids and the parents are equally involved in the food prep process which instill the skills and confidence to prepare healthy meals.
The attendees were being educated on nutrition, learning about the fat content in a normal fast food meal and how it equals to tablespoons of Crisco. This boys face was priceless when he learned his dinner the previous night had as much fat as 10 tablespoons of Crisco. All the information they learn is given to them in a curriculum binder at the end of each class.
Besides food education and receiving a healthy meal for the day, the kids participated in fun games, coloring activities and yoga! The importance of educating these kids young is key, plus they look forward to this course every week.
I had such an eye opening experience with City Harvest and if you are interested in donating click here or volunteering click here. For more information about the national Hunger-Free Summer program read about it below.
Hunger Free Summer – Background Information
- This year, 26 food banks in 18 states are receiving Hunger Free Summer Grants, including the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
- According to the USDA, when school is out, nearly 90 percent of children have limited or no access to the free or reduced-price meals they receive during the school year.
- ConAgra Foods and Feeding America, the nation’s network of food banks, created the Hunger Free Summer program in 2009, to help ensure that all children have access to nutritious meals year round — especially when school is out.
- Half of ConAgra Foods Foundation’s $10 million commitment to Feeding America is dedicated to the Hunger Free Summer program to supplement and expand the base of existing summer feeding programs for children.
- The funding from Hunger Free Summer grants enables non-profits to overcome barriers that stand between kids getting the nutritious food they need, by expanding summer programs to feed more meals to more children.
- The program—now in its fifth year—has supported the delivery of more than 3.8 million meals and snacks to children struggling with hunger over the summer.
This post was sponsored but all opinions expressed here are my own.