Childhood Hunger Rate in Worcester Higher than the National Average
The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester Serves Kids a FREE Dinner 5 Nights a Week
Steve “Tank” Tankinow, the Kid’s Café Director💜💙💛
We don’t need to search very far for statistics on childhood hunger:
1 in 4 kids goes to bed hungry in Worcester.
That’s higher than the national average of 1 in 5.
Childhood hunger is linked to lasting effects on our kids’ social development, physical health, and academic performance.
In fact, 93% of educators are concerned about the long-term damage hunger can have on our youth.
When children are hungry:
88% are unable to concentrate in school
87% struggle with lack of energy or motivation
65% exhibit behavioral problems
84% have overall poor academic performance
Often times, the foods they have access to pose no nutritional value.
80% of our Club members live at or below the poverty level, limiting their exposure to fresh, healthy foods. The financial limitations on our families force parents to serve fast food or processed and packaged meals.
Our Club is the only place in the city where kids can receive a FREE, nutritious dinner 5 days a week.
Kid’s Café provides approximately 300 youth a day with nutritious meals.
Steve “Tank” Tankinow, our Kid’s Café Director, has been cooking home-style meals for our members for over 17 years, dedicating himself to serving the hungry children in Worcester.
Eating good food at the Club💜💛
If you’re interested in helping our Club provide dinner 5 nights a week for our kids, please consider making a donation!
How it all Began:
“I’ve been a member of the Boys & Girls Club since I was a kid. To me, it was a safe place. I always felt at home. When I came back as an adult, the sounds and even the smells were the same as I remembered as a kid.
I was inspired to start Kid’s Café as a way of giving back to the community. Because my career has been involved in nutrition, I wanted to do something that provided good, healthy food for kids. I worked with the Worcester County Food Bank and the Boys & Girls Club, and formed a non-profit organization. We started by making supper for a handful of kids 17 years ago; now we feed about 300 kids a hot, nutritious meal 2 days a week (3 days a week we are provided meals through the Federal Government). We’re helping keep kids healthy. It’s an important part of the mission of the Boys & Girls Club.
I’ve been fortunate that so many people have volunteered to help, or responded when I called. We’ve had everyone from executives to high school students contributing food or money to buy food. They pitch in as teams to cook and serve. It’s a lot of work to feed 300 kids, but with the community support we always get it done.”- Steven “Tank” Tankinow (excerpt from alumni profile in 2011 annual report)
Fallon Health Opens Food Pantry at Our Club
We’re thrilled to provide our kids with nutritious food while at the Club, but we also want to ensure their health at home.
Fallon Health has opened a food pantry at our Harrington Clubhouse to help our organization further fight childhood hunger.
This crucial addition to our case management department will provide Club families with food and resources during tough times and emergencies such as a death in the family or unemployment.
Several Fallon Health employees volunteered their time to set up the pantry and stock the new shelves with non-perishable items such as canned vegetables, pasta, and cereal.
The pantry will be restocked throughout the year to ensure we can continue assisting our families. The generosity of Fallon Health has enabled our staff to help our families in a new and pivotal capacity.
If you’re interested in donating to our food pantry, please contact Liz Hamilton, Executive Director, at:
Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
65 Tainter Street, Worcester, MA, 01610-2520, United States
Congressman McGovern leads Democrats calling on GOP House Budget Committee Chair to protect anti-hunger programs
Congressman Jim McGovern, the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee Nutrition Subcommittee, led last week a group of 18 House Democrats on the Agriculture Committee calling on House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-TN) and Ranking Member John Yarmuth (D-KY) to protect funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the top anti-hunger program in the country, and to reject attempts to change the structure of SNAP or place additional burdens on those looking to access SNAP benefits.
SNAP currently serves about 43 million Americans in both urban and rural areas, and its entitlement structure allows the program to expand during times of economic hardship and contract as conditions improve. SNAP provides the most vulnerable Americans with a modest nutrition assistance benefit — on average, just $1.40 per person, per meal — to supplement their food budgets. And among those households that can work, the vast majority do in the year before or after receiving benefits.”
In the letter, McGovern and House Democrats write that “SNAP is our nation’s best chance to alleviate hunger across our country. Each year, SNAP provides millions of children, seniors, veterans, and other vulnerable adults with food assistance,” the lawmakers write in the letter. “It is an efficient and effective program that helps families lift themselves out of poverty, and cuts extreme poverty almost in half.
“SNAP improves health, educational, and economic outcomes, and increases the incomes of working families. Recent innovations in the program have encouraged healthier eating and have increased SNAP participants’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. An increase in SNAP benefits would likely only improve these outcomes, with recent research confirming that just a $30 increase in monthly SNAP benefits for households could lead to healthier eating and lower rates of food insecurity.”
McGovern and House Democrats write that “Far too many Americans continue to struggle with food insecurity in the United States, and we must preserve the dignity and health of the most vulnerable among us through the basic and reliable food assistance provided by SNAP. We strongly urge you to maintain the entitlement structure of SNAP and reject any attempts to further cut funding or place additional burdens on those looking to access these modest benefits.”
During the 114th Congress, the House Agriculture Committee undertook a thorough review of SNAP, holding 18 hearings, hearing more than 30 hours of testimony from over 60 experts which resulted in 830 pages of official hearing record. Both conservative and liberal experts testified that:
· SNAP benefits should not be cut and the current benefits are inadequate;
· SNAP does not discourage program participants from working;
· Case management and job training programs can help to move people out of poverty and
· These efforts require a well-funded, multi-year commitment.
In the letter the lawmakers highlight how the success of SNAP will create new cost savings:
· Between 2007 and 2012, SNAP caseloads and spending grew as a result of the most recent economic recession, but that was to be expected.
· As the economic recovery continues, SNAP participation has declined in recent years.
· As a result of this decline and other factors like low food inflation, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that SNAP will save over $92 billion over 10 years.
FOOD ASSISTANCE CUT OFF IN STATES
However, the lawmakers point out that the recent decrease in SNAP participation is due in part to the return of the three-month time limit in 20 states for non-disabled childless adults who are working less than 20 hours a week.
The lawmakers write that “this time limit has resulted in over a million people losing SNAP benefits in 2016 alone—not based on whether they still need assistance, but because of arbitrary time limits. Further, states are not required to provide job training slots, so some of these vulnerable people lose food assistance even if they are looking for work, but cannot find a job. That is a problem Congress should be trying to fix, not worsen.”
Joining Congressman McGovern were the following House Agriculture Committee Democrats: Representatives Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Tim Walz (MN-01), Rick Nolan (MN-08), David Scott (GA-13), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Alma Adams (NC-12), Jimmy Pannetta (CA-20), Darren Soto (FL-09), Anne McLane Kuster (NH-02), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Stacey Plaskett (VI), Al Lawson (FL-05), Jim Costa (CA-16), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE)
Full Text of Letter to the House Budget Committee on Protecting SNAP:
Dear Chairman Black and Ranking Member Yarmuth:
As Members of the Committee on Agriculture, we write to provide additional views to the Committee’s Budget Views and Estimates letter that was considered and adopted by the Committee on March 1, 2017. We appreciate the opportunity to provide these additional views.
One of our Committee’s most significant areas of jurisdiction is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. SNAP is our nation’s best chance to alleviate hunger across our country. It provides our most vulnerable neighbors with a modest nutrition assistance benefit—on average, just $1.40 per person, per meal—to supplement their food budgets. The program currently serves about 43 million Americans in both urban and rural areas, and its entitlement structure allows the program to expand during times of economic hardship and contract as conditions improve. Among those households that can work, the vast majority do in the year before or after receiving benefits.
During the 114th Congress, the House Agriculture Committee undertook a thorough review of SNAP. We held 18 hearings and heard more than 30 hours of testimony from over 60 experts which resulted in 830 pages of official hearing record. We learned from experts—conservative and liberal—that SNAP benefits should not be cut, and that current benefits are inadequate. We also learned that SNAP does not discourage work, and that case management and job training programs can be successful in helping to move people out of poverty, but those efforts require a well-funded, multi-year commitment.
Each year, SNAP provides millions of children, seniors, veterans, and other vulnerable adults with food assistance. It is an efficient and effective program that helps families lift themselves out of poverty, and cuts extreme poverty almost in half. SNAP improves health, educational, and economic outcomes, and increases the incomes of working families. Recent innovations in the program have encouraged healthier eating and have increased SNAP participants’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. An increase in SNAP benefits would likely only improve these outcomes, with recent research confirming that just a $30 increase in monthly SNAP benefits for households could lead to healthier eating and lower rates of food insecurity.
Between 2007 and 2012, SNAP caseloads and spending grew as a result of the most recent economic recession, but that was to be expected. Indeed, the program worked as it was intended and expanded to respond quickly and effectively to an economic downturn.
As our economy continues to recover, SNAP participation has declined during the past several years.
Because of this decline in SNAP participation and other factors like low food inflation, recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office estimate that SNAP will save over $92 billion over 10 years as compared to baseline projections used to write the 2014 Farm Bill. We caution the Committee, however, that some of the caseload decline is attributable to the return of the three-month time limit in 20 states for non-disabled childless adults who are working less than 20 hours a week. Indeed, this time limit has resulted in over a million people losing SNAP benefits in 2016 alone—not based on whether they still need assistance, but because of arbitrary time limits. Further, states are not required to provide job training slots, so some of these vulnerable people lose food assistance even if they are looking for work, but cannot find a job. That is a problem Congress should be trying to fix, not worsen.
Far too many Americans continue to struggle with food insecurity in the United States, and we must preserve the dignity and health of the most vulnerable among us through the basic and reliable food assistance provided by SNAP.
We strongly urge you to maintain the entitlement structure of SNAP and reject any attempts to further cut funding or place additional burdens on those looking to access these modest benefits.
Thank you for considering our additional views. We look forward to working with you and with Members of the Committee on the Budget on this critical issue.
McGovern to Kick Off 7th Annual Monte’s March in Springfield!
Last Year’s March Raised a Record-Breaking $150,000 for Local Hunger Relief!
Next Monday, November 21, Congressman Jim McGovern will kick off the 7th annual “Monte’s March,” a 43-mile two-day walk as part of his anti-hunger push in Western Massachusetts.
Congressmen Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) and Richard Neal (MA-01) will be among those joining the event.
The march is aimed at helping to increase awareness about hunger in local communities and help Massachusetts families in need this thanksgiving.
“As we prepare for Thanksgiving, there are many Massachusetts families who are struggling just to put food on the table,” Congressman McGovern said. “To bring our communities together and raise awareness to help families in need, we’ll be kicking off the seventh annual Monte’s March, the longest-yet at 43 miles across Western Massachusetts. Hunger is something that touches families across the Commonwealth, but together, we can help to ensure that every family has access to the healthy meals they need this holiday season.”
Joining Congressman McGovern for the full 43 miles will be the founder of Monte’s March, WRSI The River radio host Monte Belmonte, as well as Andrew Morehouse, the Executive Director of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Also joining part of the march will be Congressmen Richard Neal and Joe Kennedy III; State Rep. Aaron Vega; State Rep-Elect Solomon Goldstein-Rose; students from Holyoke Community College, Greenfield Community College and The Greenfield Center School; and local mayors, and other community leaders.
This year’s hunger walk will be the longest yet at 43 miles, starting on Monday with stops in Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, and Northampton. The walk will finish on Tuesday with stops in Hadley, Amherst, Sunderland, and Greenfield.
WHAT: Monte’s March, a 43-mile anti-hunger march across Western Massachusetts
WHEN: Monday 11/21 at 7:00AM
WHERE: March Starts at Friends of The Homeless. 755 Worthington St., Springfield
The march continues Monday with stops in Chicopee, Holyoke, and Northampton
On Tuesday 11/22 with stops in Hadley, Amherst, Sunderland, and ending in Greenfield
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21
o 7:00 am – Depart from Friends of The Homeless. 755 Worthington St. Springfield
o 8:30 am – Arrive at Chicopee City Limits
o 9:00 am – Arrive in Chicopee Falls
o 10:00 am – Arrive in Downtown Holyoke
o 11:00 am – 2:00 pm – Finish first day, walking down Northampton Street to Northampton
o 6:30 pm – Fundraising event at The Northampton Brewery, 11 Brewster Ct, Northampton
o Note: Throughout the day, the march will be joined by Holyoke Community College students
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22
o 6:00 am – Depart Northampton Office, 94 Pleasant Street.
o 7:00 am – Arrival at Route 9 in Hadley near Mi Tierra
o 8:00 am – Arrival at Whole Foods in Hadley
o 9:15 am – Arrival in Downtown Amherst
o 10:30 am – Arrival at Amherst Survival Center
o 12:00 pm – Arrival in Downtown Sunderland
o 1:15 pm – Arrival at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle for Lunch
o 2:30 pm Arrival at Route 5 & 10 north joined by students from Greenfield Community College and The Greenfield Center School
o 5:00 pm: Arrival in Greenfield
o 5:30 pm or 6:00 pm: Completion of march at Seymour The Pub, 5 Bank Row, Greenfield.
Back at Rose’s shack: Behold the terrific tuber! … Jim has been fighting for the hungry/food insecure his entire political life! pic:R.T.
Full Text of Congressman Jim McGovern’s Opening Statement on the House floor:
“After 18 hearings, what have we learned?
“We’ve learned that the SNAP program is a powerful tool for improving nutrition, insulating families against hardship, and lifting people out of poverty. It is effective, and it is efficiently run.
“The very modest benefit – which averages about $1.40 per person, per meal – helped to keep over 10 million people out of poverty in 2012, including almost 5 million children.
“So when I reflect on lessons learned from our hearings on SNAP during the 114th Congress, I think about the overwhelmingly supportive testimony we have heard from witnesses about the structure of the SNAP program and its ability to reduce food insecurity among our most vulnerable constituents.
“We’ve learned that charities do great work, but they can’t do it alone.
“We’ve learned that it’s a bad idea to radically change the SNAP program. It is working as intended. Not once have we heard from our witnesses that block granting SNAP will reduce hunger or strengthen this program. In fact, we’ve heard the opposite.
“And if we want to talk about improving access to food, we should be discussing ways to increase SNAP benefits. If anything, the average benefit of $1.40 per person, per meal is too low.
“The Recovery Act temporarily increased SNAP benefits and we saw an increase in food expenditures by low-income households, a reduction in food insecurity, and improvements in diet quality, especially among children.
“We ought to find ways to increase access to food by piloting the use of SNAP benefits online, strengthening employment and training programs, expanding SNAP education, incentivizing the purchase of more nutritious foods, we ought to address the issue of the “cliff,” among many other things.
“All of that would require an increased investment. But I think the return on investment would be enormous.
“I have no idea what a Trump Administration coupled with a Republican Congress means for the future of SNAP and other safety net programs.
“Quite frankly, I am worried. I spend a lot of time on this stuff. I spend a lot of time with people on SNAP. They don’t fit a stereotype. Many are unemployed – and many work. The majority who benefit from SNAP are kids and senior citizens.
“These are good people; they are our neighbors. And yet, too often, they are ridiculed, and their plight is belittled in the halls of this Congress. That is wrong.
“So, after 18 hearings, we have learned, from both majority and minority witnesses, that SNAP is not only a good program, but a very good program. It works.
“And, if next year, the Republican leadership wants to block grant or cut the program or put more hurdles in place to deny people a benefit to put food on their table – be prepared for one hell of a fight. Because this is a fight worth having.
“No one – and I mean no one – should go hungry in the United States of America.”
Sat., Oct. 22 – at Main South’s Crystal Park (aka University Park) – Join REC to celebrate …
WORLD FOOD DAY 2016!!!
… with a slate of events scheduled to highlight:
healthy food choices
food accessibillity for all!
Learn new ways to celebrate food and promote sensible, just food policies for Worcester and Central Mass!
There will be:
Events Sponsored by:
Main South Community Development Corporation
Worcester Food Policy Council
Regional Environmental Council (REC)
University of Massachusetts Medical School
What is World Food Day?
A global campaign to draw attention to and celebrate healthy, affordable foods produced in a humane, sustainable way and to fix the food system by:
Promoting safer, healthier diets
Supporting sustainable and organic farms
Reforming factory farms to protect the environment
Supporting fair working conditions for food and farm workers
World Food Day is a day of action against hunger!!!
Tomorrow people around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime.
Because when it comes to hunger, the only acceptable number in the world is zero.
World Food Day celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on October 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada. First established in 1979, World Food Day has since then been observed in almost every country by millions of people.
Why care about hunger?
Because the right to food is a basic human right.
In a world of plenty, 805 million people, one in nine world wide, live with chronic hunger. The costs of hunger and malnutrition fall heavily on the most vulnerable.
60% of the hungry in the world are women.
Almost 5 million children under the age of 5 die of malnutrition-related causes every year.
4 in 10 children in poor countries are malnourished damaging their bodies and brains
Every human being has a fundamental right to be free from hunger and the right to adequate food. The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child has the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement.
Because we can end hunger in our lifetime. It’s possible. The world produces enough food to feed every person on the planet. In September 2000, world leaders signed a commitment to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals …
40 countries have already achieved the first target, to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
In addition, over the past 20 years, the likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half, which means about 17,000 children are saved every day.
Extreme poverty rates have also been cut in half since 1990.
The challenge is significant, but these results show us that when we focus our attention, we can make big strides.
Because the cost of neglect is too high.
No one in the world should have to experience hunger. In addition to the cost of human suffering, the world as a whole loses when people do not have enough to eat. Hungry people have learning difficulties, are less productive at work, are sick more often and live shorter lives.
The cost to the global economy because of malnutrition is the equivalent of US $3.5 trillion a year.
Hunger leads to increased levels of global insecurity and environmental degradation. Ending hunger is not just a moral imperative, but also a good investment for society.
Because it can happen to anyone. Even in the U.S., one of the richest countries in the world, one in seven Americans – 14.3 percent – does not have enough to eat.
Nutritious food can be expensive, making a balanced diet a luxury for many.
Loss of a job, a family tragedy, poor health, or an accident can make anyone, anywhere, go hungry in a moment.
Globally, extreme climate events, war, or even financial crisis can dramatically affect a person’s ability to feed themselves and their families.
Without social safety nets, resiliency measures and good policy in place, these small and large events can set off a cycle of hunger and poverty.
REC YOUTH GROW URBAN FARM IN MAIN SOUTH – 63 Oread St.
We need YOUR help getting the Main South YouthGROW Urban Farm ready for fall!
Join us on through the end of October on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-5 pm and help us pull crops and harvest produce that will be sold on the REC Mobile Farmers Market!
Questions? Email Bettny Mazur at firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR INQUIRIES ABOUT OTHER VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES, CONTACT Calandra Chaney at email@example.com
LAWRETA KANKAM, YouthGROW Junior Staff photos:REC
We are excited to welcome our newest YouthGROW Junior Staff! Lawreta is a Junior at South High School in Worcester and just completed her first year in YouthGROW.
Lawreta was hired as Junior Staff this fall beause of her excellent leadership abilities, passion for youth employment, urban agriculture and community education. Congratulations to Lawreta on her new position!
Free fresh fruits and vegetables will now be available from 9:30 to 11:30 Saturday mornings at the St. Francis Xavier Center soup kitchen.
St. John’s Church
20 Temple St.
The St. Francis Xavier Center also has a food pantry and serves hot breakfasts, Mon. – Fri.
******* Jim thanking Starbucks for helping feed the hungry!
Congressman McGovern Praises Starbucks for Donating Surplus Food to Help Reduce Hunger and Food Waste
Congressman Jim McGovern delivered this week a speech on the House Floor in honor of Hunger Action Month to praise Starbucks for its FoodShare program.
It’s a new initiative to donate unused food to help reduce food waste and work with local food banks to reduce hunger in communities across the country.
At a local Starbucks on Capitol Hill, Congressman McGovern joined Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), his fellow co-chair of the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus, to learn more about the program and how it will contribute to the national effort to help the 47 million Americans who struggle with hunger every day.
Full Text of Today’s Speech is Below:
“To kick off Hunger Action Month, today I joined Representative Lynn Jenkins of Kansas on a tour of the Starbucks on Capitol Hill to learn about an innovative partnership between Feeding America and Starbucks to donate unused food.
“At the end of each day, Starbucks will package surplus ready-to-eat food that gets picked up overnight and delivered to local food banks.
“I was impressed by the selection of nutritious food. We often think of Starbucks as a place to stop for a coffee, but we saw a number of healthy options like salads, sandwiches, and more.
“Starbucks will expand the project to all its stores in the next few years. They expect to donate 50 million meals annually, diverting 60 million pounds of surplus food away from landfills and to hungry families in need.
“More than 47 million Americans suffer from hunger and food insecurity. In the richest country in the world, we must do all we can to ensure that no family goes hungry and donating unused food is a key step.
“Starbucks deserves much credit for being a leader in the effort to end hunger.”
FoodShare: Hunger relief in action
Starbucks Announces Program to Donate Ready-to-Eat Meals to Food Banks
Did you know that:
1 in 7 Americans are food insecure
Food waste accounts for 20 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions
Almost 40% of food is lost between farm & fork
In the spirit of Our Mission and Values, partners across the country advocated for a solution to donate unsold food to the communities we serve. Through a new and unique strategic partnership with Feeding America, we will rescue 100% of food available to donate from all of our U.S. stores, positioning Starbucks as the sector leader in food rescue.
At scale, Starbucks will:
Support 100% store participation in food donation
Provide 50 million meals annually
Divert 60 million pounds of food waste from landfills
Lead a coalition of like-minded brands in the fight against hunger
How can you get involved?
Be an advocate for the fight against hunger
Make a contribution
Lead a service project
Visit www.feedingamerica.org/take-action/volunteer to learn how you can volunteer at your local food bank.
This summer the City of Worcester ran a kick-ass summer lunch/snack program for low-income/hungry kids at our parks – the USDA’s national Summer Food Service Program! This blue bus (pictured above) could be seen rolling down our city streets, even making stops at our branch libraries! … School’s begun! Hola, Ms. Lunch Lady! Unlike lots of school districts, the Worcester Public Schools work to incorporate fresh veggies and fruits into students’ meals – at every grade level! AND EVERY STUDENT CAN GET A FREE LUNCH! Go, WPS, go!!! – Rosalie T.
By Heather Moore
I don’t care what kids say — the school lunch lady is not trying to kill them. The federal government is. Well, I have my suspicions, at least. Many of the meals served as part of the National School Lunch Program are high in fat and cholesterol and contain considerably more sodium than fiber. They’re a heart attack in the making. I wonder if that’s why the American Heart Association has warned us that atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries — begins in childhood and progresses into adulthood, at which point it can lead to coronary heart disease.
Most American schools serve the same artery-clogging meals that were served when I was a student, and frozen meals still had to be baked in the oven. How can we expect students to take a health teacher’s “healthy eating tips” seriously when their school cafeteria is serving unhealthy foods?
Salisbury steak, pepperoni pizza and chicken nuggets need to go the way of film projectors and hand-crank pencil sharpeners. And fast-food corporations should also be expelled from schools — or at least suspended until they serve more plant-based meals.
As Dr. Neal Barnard, the president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says, “Fresh produce, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are nutritional powerhouses that study after study has shown to be quite literally lifesaving .… [D]iets high in animal protein are associated with a fourfold increase in the chance of dying from cancer or diabetes — making heavy meat and dairy consumption just as dangerous as smoking.”
Responsible parents teach their children not to smoke because cigarettes cause cancer and other health problems. For the same reason, they should make sure their kids don’t get hooked on hamburgers and other unhealthy foods. Let’s put more emphasis on teaching children to eat vegan meals — at school and at home. Kids will gladly eat plant-based meals, such as pasta, veggie burgers and black bean chili, if they’re delicious as well as nutritious.
Knowing this, the Coalition for Healthy School Food created the Cool School Food program to develop, test and implement plant-based meals in school cafeterias. The program — which helped two public schools in New York implement the first entirely plant-based school menus in the U.S. — aims to make it fun and exciting for young people to try new foods and learn about their health benefits.
Food Is Elementary, another school program that was recently featured in VegNews magazine, is also working to introduce children to plant-based foods, which the kids prepare and eat as part of a curriculum established by the founder of the Food Studies Institute, a New York-based nonprofit that helps school cafeterias incorporate low-fat, high-fiber foods into their menus.
We need more programs like these. Students are fed up with the unappetizing, inhumane and potentially disease-promoting fare that passes as lunch in many school cafeterias. Last year, students at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Chicago boycotted school lunch in an attempt to persuade officials to serve healthier meals, including more fresh fruit and vegetables.
That’s hardly an unreasonable request. The school cafeteria is supposed to be a source of nourishment, not disease. This year’s National School Lunch Week, which will be observed in October, aims to remind “parents, students and school officials that a healthy lunch helps students power through the day!”
But how can we expect kids to make it through the day — and learn compassion and empathy — if they’re eating unhealthy animal-based foods? We need to teach children that “v” is for vegan and serve them healthy, tasty, cruelty-free plant-based foods.
I love my city, but we have to deal with our hunger problem …
What Worcester needs badly!!: a TRUE FOOD HUB! Just like they have in Greenfield! A store in the city open 7 days a week, 9 – 5, a building, a physical place to shop like Price Chopper or Shop Rite … only filled with locally sourced produce that typically wouldn’t be sold in supermarkets. A food hub is just like a supermarket, only it sells local farmers’ less-than-perfect produce – for way CHEAP! Way way less $$ than the supermarkets and our high-end farmers market, here, ironically, in our inner city – by Kelley Square!!! Kelley Square – home to so many poor people, refugees, immigrants – DIVERSITY! The Worcester of tomorrow! You don’t see our future at this boutique farmers market by Kelley Square. You see … gentrification. It’s an affront to the real neighborhood and its people!
Did you know…Farmers throw away veggies that aren’t ready for prime time! These “rejects” are still amazingly tasty and healthy – fresh from the good earth! FOOD HUBS answer the question: Why not give our working poor, our immigrants a chance – a place! – to buy these homeless, kitchen-less vegetables and fruits? The working poor and immigrants are not patronizing the high-end farmers market any ways, and they often live out of walking distance from produce-selling supermarkets … so no one loses customers. It’s an entirely different customer base – the people in my neighborhood! The folks in all of Worcester’s inner-city neighborhoods!
Let’s do the right thing!
We can’t let politics or a fake, self-obsessed pretend little girl/real-life bitch (I’ve asked around! no one in the city seems to really like her, despite her relentless p.r.) kill this project! Get in the way of A REAL PHYSICAL FOOD HUB FOR WORCESTER! Our kids – all kids! – need to grow up healthy and strong!
photos: Rosalie Tirella
…until the FOOD HUB IS A REALITY (staffed/run by REC???)…
McGovern Kicks Off Summer Meals Tour For Low-Income Students in Central and Western Massachusetts
Congressman Jim McGovern will kick off his third annual Summer Food Rocks Tour next Monday to highlight USDA’s national Summer Food Service Program and how it helps ensure that low-income students in Massachusetts do not go hungry during the summer months when school is out of session.
This year’s tour includes visits to Worcester, Athol, Turner Falls, Ware and Webster.
As part of Congressman McGovern’s third annual tour, he will lead a roundtable with state and local leaders to talk about how the summer food program helps communities in need and visit summer meals sites at schools across the region.
Joining Congressman McGovern on the day-long tour will be:
· Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services
· Kurt Messner, USDA Northeast Regional Administrator Food and Nutrition Service
· Candice Stoiber, USDA Northeast Region Director Special Nutrition Programs Division, Food and Nutrition Service
· Rob Leshin, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Acting Director of the Office for Nutrition Programs
The USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites. Full info on Monday’s tour is below:
7:45AM – 8:10AM in ATHOL
Congressman McGovern; Julianna Valcour (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed); and Orange School Committee Leaders
Congressman Assists With Breakfast Service to Students
Athol High School, 2363 Main Street, Athol
8:40AM – 9:15AM in TURNER FALLS
Congressman McGovern; Julianna Valcour (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed); and Gill and Montague Regional School Leaders
Congressman Assists With Breakfast Service to Students
Unity Park, 7 First Street, Turner Falls
10:10AM – 11:15AM in WARE
Congressman McGovern; Ellen Parker (Project Bread Executive Director); Julie Wayman (Project Bread Child Nutrition Outreach Director); Christina Maxwell (Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Programs Director); Abby Getman (Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Planning and Advocacy Coordinator); Simca Hoorwitz (Eastern Massachusetts Director of the Massachusetts Farm to School); Ware Town Administrator Stuart Beckley; MA State Senator Anne Gobi
Summer Food Rocks Tour Roundtable Discussion
Ware Junior and Senior High School, 237 West Street, Ware
11:15AM – 11:45AM in WARE
Congressman McGovern; Amy Socolow (Summer Food Service Consultant – MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed.); MA State Senator Anne Gobi, Ware Town Administrator Stuart Beckley; and Ware School Committee Leaders;
Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students
Kaziol Elementary School, 4 Gould Road, Ware
12:35PM – 1:00PM in WEBSTER
Congressman McGovern, Amy Socolow (Summer Food Service Consultant – MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed.); MA State Rep. Joseph McKenna; and Webster School Committee
Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students
Park Avenue Elementary School, 58 Park Avenue, Webster
2:40PM – 3:10PM in WORCESTER
Congressman McGovern; Donna Lombardi (Worcester Public Schools Director of Nutrition); Jean McMurray (Worcester County Food Bank Executive Director); Liz Sheehan Castro (Worcester County Food Bank Director of Advocacy); Martha Assefa (Worcester Food and Active Living Policy Council); and Frances Canning (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Review Coordinator for Special Nutrition Programs)
Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students
Burncoat Preparatory School Playground, 526 Burncoat Street, Worcester
3:25PM – 4:00PM in WORCESTER
WHO: Congressman McGovern; Frances Canning (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Review Coordinator for Special Nutrition Programs); Jean McMurray (Worcester County Food Bank Executive Director); Liz Sheehan Castro (Worcester County Food Bank Advocacy Director); and Martha Assefa (Worcester Food and Active Living Policy Council)
Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students
Girls Inc., 125 Providence Street, Worcester
Jim works closely with REC. REC FARMERS MARKETS and REC Mobile Farmers Market blue van ACCEPT SNAP, WIC … ALL families can eat well! Times and places: