“It was dinnertime.
At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, 200 students clamored into the cafeteria at Union House Elementary in south Sacramento,forming a line in front of a mound of plastic-encased meals of sandwiches, pears and salads.”
- meals that provide qualitfood for our kids
- gardens that support school meals with gardening activities provided by students and parents to provide food served in school meals
- school gardens that teach students and parents where our food comes from and how to grow their own food and allows families to stretch their budgets with nutritious products
- school and community gardens that make use of otherwise vacant or under utilized land in our cities and towns
- school meals prepared with the support of students who get trained in food service at the school
- at some schools develop a restaurant manned by students (and even some parents needing work skills) and supported by food grown in community & school gardens
It’s not just an opportunity to serve sandwiches, call it “dinner” and claim some federal funds for the school.
“The late-afternoon meals come courtesy of the federal government’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2010. The law provides federal funding for schools to serve dinner as part of their after-school program if at least half the students at the school qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches.”
If it is not done in new ways with predetermined paths moving toward improving the health of the families in the school and the communities the school serves, then we are merely giving someone a sandwich at the end of a long day.
Maybe the kid learns something from the homework they may complete in an after-school homework club but we will have missed a great opportunity to connect the growing of food to preparation of healthy & tasty meals with developing job skills and employment opportunities for students and parents.
Without constant prodding by parents and community leaders our schools will take the easy way out. Too often schools are focused on building programs that give them a pathway to new or enhanced funding. They are not (on their own) all about developing programs that meet the needs of the people they serve.
And they certainly are not all about developing unique program that address community needs in new ways.
A program like this will be difficult to develop, but the rewards are more than worth it.
We need parent-leaders who push and prod the schools and the politicians to develop and support programs that help our students and their families and offer skills training that helps build the future of our neighborhoods and communities.
- Dinner At School: More Public Schools Dish Up 3 Meals A Day (huffingtonpost.com)
- Meal-deals to boost school food (bbc.co.uk)