Power Packs for Food Day

Today was Food Day!  Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.  All across the country folks held events to celebrate food.

From FoodDay.org:

Across the U.S., more than 4,500 events in all 50 states are taking place on and around October 24. Activities are underway in thousands of classrooms to make kids familiar with vegetable peelers and cutting boards as a part of Food Day’s Let’s Get Cooking with Kids nationwide action. From New Orleans, to Detroit and Boston, students, health officials, and local groups stand up to Big Food to fix the broken food system.

In New York City, GrowNYC, with the support of the Mayor’s office, is holding the Big Apple Crunch aiming to set a world record of 1,000,000 people. In Harlem, hip hop artists kick off their tour supporting the album Songs for a Healthier America.

In Savannah, GA, 15,000 people are expected this weekend at the city’s Food Day Festival.

In Washington, DC, Food Day events include a week-long series of activities at George Washington University. Nationwide, at least 300 colleges and universities are holding events. 

In Cincinnati I celebrated Food Day by volunteering at the Freestore Foodbank.  I really can’t take too much credit for coming up with this idea.  The alumni network of my alma mater had the event scheduled, and I signed up.  And I’m glad I did.  I learned a lot about an organization working hard to address hunger and food insecurity in the greater Cincinnati area.

Power Pack, hunger, food pantry

Tonight, our group of 12 volunteers worked at a ferocious pace to put together “Power Packs.”  These bags go home on Fridays in the backpacks of about 4,000 kids from over 90 schools in the greater Cincinnati area to help supplement what the family can eat during the weekend.  The items are selected to be shelf stable and kid friendly–foods that don’t need to be heated or require a can opener.  The Power Packs we put together included: 3 cans of “entrees” like chili and macaroni, chocolate milk, juice box, peaches, applesauce, pudding, and cereal.

I’d have a hard time convincing myself that all of these foods meet the “healthy, affordable, and sustainable food” aims of Food Day.  But the goal here is to prevent hunger over the weekend while kids are away from the free and reduced price breakfasts and lunches that keep them fed during the week.   I tried to focus on the applesauce and peaches as I packed bags.  That’s two servings of fruit!  At a cost of $4 a pack, 4,000 kids have a more reliable source of food for the weekend to make sure they come back on Monday ready to keep learning.

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