Foodlink: Healthy Meals Still Available

July 23, 2008 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Foodlink is attempting to raise awareness — and participation — in its summer meals program.  The program currently provides free healthy breakfasts and lunches to 8,000 local children at some 30 sites across the city, but an estimated 25,000 children are eligible for the meals, which are subsidized by the US Department of Agriculture.

You can read a D&C story about a joint new conference held by Foodlink and the Rochester Rhinos here (full text after the jump).  And you can find out more information about the program on the Foodlink website here.

Democrat & Chronicle: Foodlink reaches out to Rochester kids with free meals

July 23, 2008

Kate Perry

Each week when school is out, Foodlink serves 8,000 meals to local children at 30 sites across the city – a good deed that leaves organizers with a burning question.

Where are the rest of the kids eating?

About 25,000 children in the Rochester School District are eligible for free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch, according to the district’s state school report card, meaning their families might depend on schools to feed their kids one or two meals a day.

The city of Rochester serves about 22,000 free meals per week, but Foodlink Executive Director Thomas C. Ferraro worries about the thousands of remaining kids who could be missing meals.

Tuesday he joined more than 400 kids, the Rochester Rhinos and local officials for a healthy lunch at PAETEC Park to remind the community that there’s a free meal each day for kids 19 and younger this summer. “We could serve every single kid that’s not getting a meal right now. It’s a reimbursable program,” Ferraro said of Foodlink, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Aside from just being available, Ferraro said the meals served by Foodlink have other qualities: The food is healthy and most of it is produced locally.

At PAETEC Park, kids from local programs served by Foodlink munched on black bean or chicken wraps with their choice of fresh vegetables and toppings such as cheese. Milk and fresh apricots and plums rounded out the meal, with peach smoothies for a sweet treat.

Much of the food came from three local farms.

Xavier Lopez, a 10-year-old who will enter fifth grade at School 9 this fall, came to the event with his fellow summer campers from The Community Place of Greater Rochester.

He said he likes the food and it tastes good enough that he doesn’t miss greasy potato chips or sugary snacks.

“(I like it) because it’s healthy food,” he said. “It’s not good to eat fatty food.”

Patrick Martin, the site director for The Community Place summer camp, said it takes some time for kids to love the healthy fare Foodlink serves up, but most end up like Xavier.

“The first few experiences they are going to say ‘yuck.’ They’ll say they don’t like it. They might push it away,” he said. “When they realize it’s A, healthy for you, and B, healthy foods taste good together, soon they are accepting of it.”

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Entry filed under: Children, Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity.

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