As we celebrate kidpreneurs who are making a difference in their communities, we’re also spotlighting the village of supporters who help them bring their visions to life. We recently spoke with Veronique Mareen, Farm and Kitchen Lead and Instructor at Austin Montessori School, to get her expert insight on how teachers can best support budding entrepreneurs both inside and outside of the classroom.
Like yours, our world and our work has shifted significantly in these last few weeks. Support for the armies of school food heroes who are feeding our children during this pandemic is where our heart is! We can’t appreciate enough our heroes for making sure our children are fed every day during these challenging times!
One of the things that sets Whole Kids Foundation apart is that we are built on a spirit of collaboration. We work hard to improve children’s nutrition and we realize that joining forces with others who share our passion is invaluable. It’s effective in a normal state and absolutely essential in times of hardship like the one we’re facing now! While we are not wired for emergency response, we are connectors and collaborators at heart and know that by working together, we all will be successful in making sure children are fed nutritious healthy food.
"Our entire team is committed to supporting those who are on the front lines feeding and teaching our kids right now. Those are cafeteria workers, teachers, administrators and parents. And we applaud each and every one of you for being our heroes!"
Here are a few ways we are helping:
- We have supported districts’ short-term needs and are strategizing on ways to provide assistance when school returns in the fall
- We participate in nationwide school support networks for districts and leaders, that help find equipment and materials for new take-away meal programs and are providing insights into new food-supply chains
- We support dozens of local and regional nonprofit organizations, who are adjusting their work to support schools, teachers, food service staff and students. We are collaborating with these organizations to champion their work and sustainability in the long term
We’ve also launched two new initiatives designed to engage our youth in healthy activities that build skills and provide creative outlets:
- Youth Entrepreneurship which helps develop new skills and resilience in our students who have fresh perspectives on existing social issues or market opportunities. Youth entrepreneurship creates a next generation inured to uncertainty and gives young people real tools to build their own future
- 100cameras partnership to equip students with the skills and tools they need to tell their stories while also empowering them to create change in their communities
We are continuing our primary programs, and adjusting their implementation as our grant recipients need change:
- Grant Deferrals
- School gardens are considered essential and many are growing food for their communities. We are awarding 550 new grants for school gardens this year, investing $1.65 million to serve 264,786 students. We’ve created flexibility for schools to receive funding when they are ready – now or in the fall.
- We are granting 153 new salad bars to schools in the U.S. this year. The $502,153 investment will ensure more than 76,000 students will have access to fresh healthy produce at school. These equipment grants will be held for the districts to implement in the new school year
- School Staff Engagement
- School staff in many instances are being encouraged to seek personal development opportunities. We’re meeting this need with our free online Healthy Teachers course. More than 1,100 teachers have enrolled in the two-hour nutrition and cooking class, for which they can receive professional development credit. Teachers with more knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating lead happier, healthier lives and they are strong role models for students.
- Supporting Families
- To lend additional support to families, we have more online content with parent tips, kids activities, and kid-friendly recipes. Additionally, we’ve compiled resources and learning opportunities shared by our program partners to help parents and teachers.
Our entire team is committed to supporting those who are on the front lines feeding and teaching our kids right now. Those are cafeteria workers, teachers, administrators and parents. And we applaud each and every one of you for being our heroes!
The Future of School Food
We’ve been investing in the future of school food for nearly a decade. Supporting the systemic transformation of school food is not the work we talk about the most, but it is the most important. As part of our mission, we’ve partnered with dozens of school districts to transform their school lunch programs from processed to scratch-cooked meals through our Get Schools Cooking grants
We’ve joined forces with several nonprofit organizations developing Congressional policy asks focused on ensuring access to healthy school food during this crisis, as well as on-going evolutions to school food access to all children when schools re-open.
We may ask you to add your voice to ours to ensure that the future of school food provides the best nutrition and opportunity for every student to learn and grow. 💚
Help celebrate America’s school lunch heroes and appreciating those who feed our kids. During this pandemic and every day, these unsung heroes are on the front lines to feed our nation’s children.
Join Chef José Andrés and school food support organizations, TIPS for School Meals That Rock,Chef Ann Foundation, Life Time Foundation, Wellness in the Schools and Whole Kids Foundation in thanking these heroes for their endless love and commitment to feeding 30 million children daily.
Kids can’t eat a virtual lunch, and farmers can’t sell virtual vegetables! School food professionals have ensured our kids have access to healthy meals daily, and they are an integral part of regional food economies, purchasing local products in large quantities to serve to students. Help celebrate America’s school food heroes by sharing this video and appreciating those who feed our kids.
Join Chef Tom Colicchio and school food support organizations, TIPS for School Meals That Rock, Chef Ann Foundation, Life Time Foundation, Wellness in the Schools and Whole Kids Foundation in thanking these heroes for their endless passion and commitment to feeding 30 million children daily. Visit www.schoolfoodheroes.org to learn more.
“You might have read Kim Herrington’s name in a press release or on our website. We’re so lucky to have one of the world’s best champions for how our kids eat at school leading our work. Kim was the second member of the Whole Kids team… she has built our approach to partnering with districts to help them serve healthier delicious food and to move from processed food to scratch cooking.”
- Nona Evans, Executive Director