Melinda Gross for Thrive Market
Healthy eating habits have a profound impact on quality of life, and for growing kids, they’re even more important. Despite this, a generation of kids from disproportionately low-income areas faces significant barriers to learning about and accessing healthy food. In the U.S., one in three children is likely to develop type-2 diabetes; for black and Latino children, that number jumps to one in two. Kids who have diet-related health conditions score lower on tests and miss more days of school, making it even harder to reach their full potential.
FoodCorps, a national nonprofit headquartered in Portland, Ore., that’s partially funded by the AmeriCorps Service Network, understands that accessibility to healthy food is only part of the problem. Education is a vital and often missing component that sets children up to make healthy decisions for the rest of their lives. The organization sends AmeriCorps leaders—what FoodCorps calls its “service members”—to high-need schools throughout the country to lead a specialized nutrition program that focuses on three key components:
- Fun, Hands-On Learning About Nutrition: Kids in the program learn how to cook and garden because they’re more excited to try new foods if they’ve had a hand in growing and preparing them. Service members also coordinate chef visits and field trips to local farms.
- Healthy School Meals: Service members rethink the layout and displays of school cafeterias to make sure kids are being encouraged to fill their plates with healthy options. They also organize healthy taste tests and work with farmers to serve more locally grown food.
- A Schoolwide Culture of Health: Service members work with the entire school to create a community that celebrates nutritious food and encourages healthy choices, using a scorecard to establish goals and set the school up for sustainable improvements.
Thrive Market has supported FoodCorps in the past, donating free Thrive Market memberships to FoodCorps service members as well as healthy snacks for their staff meetings, but we want to do even more. Throughout September, all donations made at checkout will go directly to FoodCorps, helping to purchase supplies, provide service member training, and fund hands-on learning experiences.