In 2021, we've seen unprecedented hunger relief for families across the country who have never experienced this before. In school food and at the Chef Ann Foundation, hunger issues have always been top of mind. Now, more than ever, it is important not just to fill bellies, but to fill them with healthy, nutritious food.
Healthier school food is key to fighting COVID-19 and systemic racism. "Feeding Equity | Fresh School Food For All" is our theme during this challenging season of giving. Why? Eight months into schools' pandemic-driven experiment in distance learning, much has been said (and debated) about whether children are learning. But the more urgent question, for the more than 30 million kids who depend on U.S. schools for free or reduced-price meals, is this: What are they eating?
This pandemic has taught us not only about physical health, but also the importance of healthy eating, mental health, social connection, and learning for our kids. So, what is one ingredient needed for all of these, and overall student well-being? Healthy school food.
Nourished kids learn and behave better. Drinking water and eating a variety of nutrient-rich vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein foods support a healthy immune system. To top it off, growing evidence shows connections between healthy eating and positive mental health.