FoodCorps Receives $1.95 Million Grant from the Walmart Foundation to Expand Access to Culturally Responsive Hands-On Food Education in Schools
New York, Nov. 15, 2021 – Today FoodCorps announced a $1.95 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to support the nonprofit’s mission to connect students to healthy food in schools by expanding food education programs. The grant is part of the Walmart Foundation’s goal to support the creation of culturally relevant and positive experiences around trying and cooking healthier foods.
Nutritious, healthy foods are critical to the wellbeing of students. The more children learn about food and nutrition in school, the more likely they are to eat healthy foods. Yet, according to the CDC, the typical elementary student receives less than eight hours of nutrition education each year. By expanding hands-on food education programs, we can ensure kids have consistent and equitable access to healthy foods and the knowledge to help them make healthy food choices throughout their lives.
The Walmart Foundation’s grant will enable FoodCorps to deliver culturally responsive food education to more than 120,000 students, the majority of whom are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals, in rural, urban, and Indigenous communities across 13 states and Washington, D.C. Providing kids with increased exposure to healthy foods via hands-on food education in the classroom and garden and culturally relevant taste tests in the cafeteria shifts students’ attitudes toward food, celebrates their cultural identity and practices, and ultimately gets students excited to eat nutritious food.
The grant will also strengthen FoodCorps’ partnership, recruitment, and training strategies to ensure FoodCorps’ AmeriCorps members have shared backgrounds and lived experiences with students in the communities we serve and receive intensive training on culturally responsive teaching practices so they can better inspire and connect kids to healthy food in schools.
“The pandemic has highlighted the prevalence of food and nutrition scarcity and the critical role schools play in a child’s relationship with food. Even outside of the pandemic, the most dedicated and innovative school communities face obstacles to creating opportunities for kids to connect with healthy food,” said Curt Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO at FoodCorps. “With the Walmart Foundation’s investment, FoodCorps will provide schools with well-trained food educators and other resources to boost exposure to healthy foods that kids need to thrive.”
“We’re excited about this investment because of FoodCorps’ continued focus on advancing racial equity as an organization and commitment to culturally relevant food programming,” said Eileen Hyde, senior director of community resilience, Walmart.org. “The direct service model in schools has proven outcomes of reaching kids and changing behaviors around healthy eating, and FoodCorps’ approach and broad reach will have tremendous impact.”
Together with communities, FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in school so that every child—regardless of race, place, or class—gets the nourishment they need to thrive. Our AmeriCorps leaders transform schools into places where all students learn what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day. Building on this foundation of direct impact, FoodCorps develops leaders, forges networks, and pursues policy reforms that in time have the potential to improve all of our nation’s 100,000 schools. To learn more about FoodCorps’ work across the country, visit http://www.foodcorps.org.
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