8 Ways to Start 2017 Helping Vulnerable Kids Grow Up Healthy

Missed our “8 Days of Good” email series? You don’t have to miss your chance to start the new year getting your hands dirty helping kids grow up healthy. We’ve summed up the series here.  Add your ideas in the comments.

1. Resolve to fight for food justice

Neither race, place, nor income should determine whether or not a child has access to healthy food. We’ll need your help, and the help of those around you, if we’re going to make a difference this year. Please share this graphic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and tell your friends why you’ll fight for food justice this year.

2. Define healthy for the FDA

If you’ve been to a grocery store lately, you probably agree: the word healthy on food labels can be confusing, misleading, or unhelpful. That makes it hard for people, especially working parents, to determine what foods are actually healthiest for their children. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is trying to change that. They’re asking customers and citizens—people like you—what healthy food really is.

3. Start a Garden

One way to guarantee children have engagement with and access to healthy food is to plant a garden with them, if your home, school, or community have space. Even something very small can do the trick, and winter is a great time to start your planning.

Connect the children in your life to hands-on experiences growing and tasting real food using the following resources.

Thank you food service professionals!

4. Practice gratitude

It’s not easy preparing nutritionally approved meals for hundreds or thousands of students each day. School food service workers don’t often get thanked for their tireless efforts to make sure all students —regardless of race, place or class—have access to the nutritious meals that are a building block for a healthy future.

Thank them today with a card, a hug, a social media shoutout or a letter to the Principal that explains your gratitude. You can also mark your calendar for School Lunch Hero Day on May 5th. Get some ideas for how to say thank you from these School Food Hero Day materials.

Say thanks online by sharing the image above on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

5. Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 16—just 10 days from now—is when we observe Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, a perfect opportunity honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems, strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions.

Our AmeriCorps service members will all be celebrating Dr. King by getting their hands dirty. Join us!

Are you only reading this now that MLK Day has passed?  That’s alright—it’s never too late to celebrate and keep the energy of the MLK Day of Service alive.

6. Volunteer

FoodCorps serves in 17 states and Washington, D.C. Our service members lead garden builds, taste tests and healthy food activities that often need extra hands and leaders. Community volunteers are the lifeblood of this work, and community engagement is the key to this programming having staying power. Connect with local volunteer opportunities by contacting the Fellow in your state. You can find their email addresses in the top-right corner of each state’s page.

7. Invest in Healthy Futures

A single (or monthly) donation to FoodCorps puts service members in schools each day to do the hands on work of ensuring students have a champion for their health and their futures.

“Sweet potatoes are just one of those things I hated. Then I kept trying it, and I gave it one more chance for dinner the other day and it blew. My. Mind.”
—Connecticut second grader

8. Apply to Serve Your Community

We can’t think of any better way to ensure the health and vitality of our communities’ children than spending a year (or two) as a FoodCorps service member. Won’t you join us in growing healthier bodies, healthier minds, and a more just world?

Know leaders in your community who would be a great fit? Share the opportunity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.