This holiday season, Americans can be thankful for school nutrition programs and the meals they provide to millions of children whose families are struggling to put food on the table during tough economic times.
In Hickman Mills C-1 school district in Kansas City, Missouri, 80 percent of students qualify for free or reduced price breakfast and lunch. Recognizing that many of these children do not get enough to eat at home, the district began offering healthy suppers to students at the district’s nine elementary afterschool programs. The supper program has been a tremendous success – in the first month alone, dinners were served to approximately 700 of the district’s 3,200 elementary students.
Each supper provides students a well balanced, hot meal including a protein, a grain or bread, two servings of fruits and/or vegetables and milk. Among the favorite meals are Orange Chicken, served with rice, pineapple and broccoli and Ranch Turkey Wraps, offered with mandarin oranges and dried cranberries, with a side of green beans.
The program serves many children who might otherwise go without an evening meal, and the suppers are filling a void for students in the afterschool program who need to fuel up with a healthy meal before heading to their evening sporting events.
Hickman Mills is also meeting the needs of hungry students by working with community partners to send healthy snacks home on Fridays to help at-risk kids through out the weekend.