As a nutritionist and Go!Chefs program manager for Go!Healthy, our hands-on, cooking-based nutrition education for students, Geronimo has worn many hats these past couple years — including a chef’s hat.
In his role as a nutritionist, he has conducted healthy eating and cooking classes at several of our sites for kids in our after-school programs, their adult caregivers, and community members at large. When school went remote, we quickly shifted the entire curriculum to go digital. “We started recording and editing videos to reach our families who were in lockdown,” he said. He also hosted Iron Go!Chefs, our year-end cooking competition, remotely. In the summer of 2021, we transitioned back to an in-person model to accommodate the changing needs of our community partners.
Geronimo has also supported our efforts to combat inequitable food access. He has connected people in the communities we serve with produce from local farmers through Go!Healthy’s Food Box program and provided them with access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. When hunger exploded in New York City during the pandemic, he stepped in to support the Food Box team at frequent distributions.
While the crisis of food insecurity has improved slightly since the early days of the pandemic, it still remains above pre-pandemic levels, and the issue is particularly pronounced in the South Bronx. That prompted Go!Healthy to launch a new program that continues tackling hunger head-on: food pantries at three Children’s Aid community schools in the South Bronx.
To launch the food pantries, Geronimo has worked with the Go!Healthy team and community school partners to set up wholesale ordering accounts to maximize efficiency and created a food pantry guide to help support school staff and families. Geronimo is in charge of ordering dry goods for these sites, and he also coordinates logistics around storage, distribution, and reporting. We expect these pantries to be a steady source of support for families, and that they will help ensure that students are nourished, healthy, and ready to thrive in school. The program plans to run throughout most of the school year, after which point Geronimo will then explore program improvements and options for sustainable funding.
But Geronimo makes sure to share the credit with his colleagues. “I am thankful to be a part of such a great team with such a powerful initiative. I played a small role in a bigger cause,” he said. Most of all, when he reflects back on what motivates him to do the work he does, he said it’s because he is proud to support “the vision to combat childhood obesity and provide families with the resources to live healthy, active lifestyles.”
Thanks to the generosity from friends like you, Geronimo and his teammates can continue having an impact in communities facing hardship this year.