* According to the USDA, 12.1 million children participated in the School Breakfast Program in fiscal year 2011. More than 10 million kids got their breakfast either free or at reduced cost.
* The venerable School Lunch Program served 31.8 million kids in 2011. More than 224 billion lunches have been served since the program started in 1946.
* In fiscal year 2011, more than 66 million half-pints of lowfat and fat-free milk were served through the Special Milk Program.
* Feeding America’s School Pantry Program offers an on-site source of nutrition for 70,000 low-income students and their families.
* The Kid’s Cafe Program, run by Feeding America, offers free after-school meals for low-income children. Pantries are located at schools and other community centers where kids gather. These pantries offer not only nutrition, but also a safe, supervised educational space that reinforces the idea of good eating habits.
* In Baltimore, the Great Kids Farms Program offers public school students opportunities to participate and learn about different aspects of food production “from seed to fork.” Great Kids Farms is an innovative example of how to teach kids about food and nutrition, helping them make better choices as they enter adulthood.
*Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60) is a nationwide in-school wellness program that reaches nearly 73,000 schools. It was created by NDC and the National Football League (NFL), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to help bring improved nutrition and increased physical activity to life for kids at school. FUTP 60 empowers students to be active for at least 60 minutes a day and “fuel up” with nutrient-rich foods (e.g., low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein).
Turning the tide: inspired for more
These programs do good work every day helping to alleviate food insecurity and educate about better nutrition, physical activity, health and wellness.
The successes already realized through these programs should inspire us to work a little harder supporting these programs within our communities, to the benefit of all.