Photo source: LA Times
We at the Organic School Project see that there are two main defects in the current system of feeding our nation’s kids: one being that far too many children consume processed, sugary, and generally unhealthy foods when they’re at school for lunch, and the other being that this may be the only meal that some children get all day. Needless to say, the two are very related, and both play a leading role in the childhood obesity epidemic that our country is currently facing.
One program implemented by the Washington D.C. public school system is taking a step to combat this epidemic. As reported by the Washington Post, some of the schools in our nation’s capital have begun offering free, healthy, locally sourced dinners to as many as 10,000 students.
The program was started for two main reasons: 1. Many kids staying after school for programs or activities remained at school well into the evening, missing what would normally be considered “dinnertime,” and 2. some children were simply not eating dinner at home. Due in part to the most recent recession, many families are unable to provide dinner, forcing many kids to eat their one and only meal of the day while at school.
Though the program does cost the school district an additional $5.7 million dollars, we must keep in mind that this is not money going down the drain; it is an investment in our nation’s future. And to us, the dollar amount becomes a minor detail when it means the difference between promoting nourishing versus detrimental eating habits, don’t you think?