school wellness

Summer Meal Program

Throughout the school year, 21 million children depend on free or reduced-price school lunch for reliable nutrition.

But, what happens to those kids when they go on summer break?

The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program provides free lunch (and sometimes breakfast) to children at 42,000 sites across the country during the summer months. This federally funded program has been around since the 1960s and works similarly to the National School Lunch Program.

Unfortunately, only about 15% of children who are eligible for free and reduced school lunches are finding their way to the Summer Food Service Program. In Ohio, where I live, this statistic is even worse, with only 10% of eligible kids are taking advantage of the free meals.

We can all help fix that by spreading the word to parents, families, and schools about this important program.

To find a site in your community,  call 1-866-3-Hungry or 1877-8-Hambre (in Spanish) or visit www.whyhunger.org/findfood. For more details about the program, including how to sponsor or operate a feeding site, go here. If you or someone you know can benefit from this program, please reach out!

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A Healthy Treat for Teacher Appreciation WeekLooking for a way to make a teacher’s day? Look what the parents at my children’s school did for Teacher Appreciation Week: They filled a bowl with fresh fruit, attached these adorable notes, and set it out for the staff. The bowl will be refilled all week long.

It goes without saying, but teachers rock–and they deserve our appreciation. I love that the parents came up with such a fun, healthy way to show gratitude. And I’m sure the staff enjoyed having fresh fruit to grab during their busy days.

For more school wellness ideas, read “5 Positively Inspiring School Wellness Ideas” and “School Wellness In Action“.

Thanks to the parent organizer who allowed me to use these photos and share her idea. I hope it inspires you to try it at your school!

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All About Snacktivism: My Interview in StayBasic Magazine

February 23, 2014

A few years ago, I got fed up with the Kool-Aid and cupcakes my son was getting after soccer games and vowed to make a change. I began talking to coaches and parents about providing fruit for post-game snacks instead–or even nixing snacks altogether (read: “What If Soccer Snacks Just Went Away?“). One day, a […]

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In Praise of Food Activism, Big & Small

February 18, 2014

Have you noticed that regular people are doing some very big stuff? Vani Hari (aka Food Babe) gets the attention of major food companies by exposing some of the questionable ingredients in their products–and demanding they do better. In response to her widely-circulated blog posts, Chik-fil-A is removing artificial dyes from its sauces and dressings […]

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A Call for Candy-Free Valentines

February 4, 2014

Remember Valentine’s Day as a kid? If your school was anything like mine, you found an old shoebox, cut a slot in the top, and decorated it with paper doilies and puffy heart stickers. You stationed it on your desk at school and made the rounds in the classroom, giggling and dropping valentines in your […]

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10 Food-Free Ways to Celebrate School Birthdays

October 28, 2013

I love cupcakes as much as the next person. I have sweet memories of the birthday cupcakes my mom made for me when I was a child (read “For the Love of Cupcakes“), and I’m sure that some years, she brought those cupcakes to school. But for better or worse, cupcakes at school are on […]

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Will The Real “Healthy Snack” Please Stand Up?

September 23, 2013

I’ve been known to gripe about the state of kids’ snacks (read: “Snacktivism“). I’m so tired of Fruit Roll-Ups, Capri Suns, and Cheez-Its being trotted out for every. single. kid-related. event. And I’m thrilled when I see parents, school administrators, church leaders, and coaches asking for better quality snacks–especially now at the start of the […]

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5 Positively Inspiring School Wellness Ideas

May 9, 2013

This week, I attended the 2013 Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Ohio Summit hosted by Ohio Action for Healthy Kids and came home inspired by and impressed with the amazing things being done in schools around Ohio and beyond. I wanted to share some of the innovative ideas I heard. Perhaps some of them will […]

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Why Are We Afraid Of Telling Parents What To Do?

April 13, 2013

Lately I’ve gotten a lot of success stories from parents who have joined the ranks of “That Mom”. They’ve spoken up and changed the snack culture in their child’s class or sports team (read “Change the Snack Culture: 3 Steps to Take Now” and  “Be Bold. Take Action. Make Change.“). But occasionally, I hear from […]

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Change The Snack Culture: 3 Steps to Take Now

April 4, 2013

Two years ago, I had a “light bulb moment” about snacking when I saw a mom and her child on the playground one day (read: “Snacking Insanity“). Since that moment, I’ve become much more aware of the snacks my kids are getting–and what I see isn’t good. It’s a problem, and not just in my […]

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