National Nutrition Month may be over for this year, but let’s talk about our Kids in the Kitchen program, which is the recipient of a $75,000 award from Kashi as part of The Kashi REAL Project™, an initiative designed to raise awareness of the Real Food Deficit and amplify the work of nonprofit organizations like The Junior League that are working to keep “real food” in the minds and hands of communities throughout the country.
But the great thing about the Kashi award is how it will be used – to make the KITK program even better than it is already!
While Leagues are currently applying for shares in the award, in grants of $2,500 or $5,000, and the announcement of the winners won’t take place until Annual Conference in April, let’s take a random peek at how individual Leagues would use the money if they win.
One Southern League would use the money to provide 39 more area schools with a curriculum and a literature-based resource kit to assist teachers in promoting healthy lifestyles. The kits cost $125 each.
A Canadian League would use the money to partner with a local Boys and Girls Club to create an urban garden. The Boys and Girls Club, which operates in the basement of a local church and receives no government funding, serves needy children, most from families that can’t pay the modest $20 per week fee that is associated with the club’s programming.
A Midwestern League would use part of the money on professional development of its community partners and membership in order to increase its understanding of childhood obesity and, in turn, help the League with the ongoing development and effectiveness of its multipronged anti-obesity strategy. The rest of the money would provide educational programming to schoolchildren for next year’s KITK activities.
A Gulf Coast League would use the money to assist in the costs of equipment and supplies for dieticians, physical therapists and social workers used in the KITK program, as well as the food for cooking with the children and their families. The money would also be used for education materials and other resources needed in the League’s ongoing health education program.
A Mid-Atlantic League runs its KITK program in partnership with a therapeutic residential treatment facility for girls ages 12-18, most of whom are pregnant and or recent mothers. The money would be used to move beyond simply educating the girls on how to prepare healthy meals and snacks for themselves to actually purchasing the food and supplies needed to expand the program and focusing on teaching the girls how to cook for and feed their babies and toddlers in a healthy, yet affordable way.