Kids Helping Kids
This month, Whole Foods teamed up with Manna Food Center for National Kids’ Day of Service, an awesome event. Approximately 100 Montgomery County youth packed Smart Sacks, weekend food assistance bags, to help students and their families. Manna’s Karen Goldberg Smart Sacks program began in 2005 and has grown over the past 8 years to serve nearly 2200 students in Montgomery County Public Schools. This school year is unique because Jenna Umbriac, our Director of Nutrition Programs, created a healthier, heartier menu to relieve the burden of hunger from the entire family. Eligible students receive a one-pound bag of brown rice or whole wheat pasta, in addition to 15-ounce cans of fruits or vegetables, canned tuna, chicken or salmon, dried beans, peanut butter and a few healthy snack items. We’re striving to make those vegetables low-salt and pack fruit canned in its own juice, rather than syrup. The entire bag of food is lower in sodium, added sugar, and higher in fiber than the previous Smart Sacks menu. The bags also include Smart Sacks Food Facts, a colorful publication with jokes, puzzles, riddles and recipes designed to encourage family food preparation and sharing.
Here, students from around Montgomery County joined their peers and parents to pack four weeks-worth of bags for hundreds of elementary students. One family in attendance received Smart Sacks last year and told me what a difference it made in their ability to have enough to eat. It was a fun, rewarding afternoon.
Here is just half of the youth who sacrificed their Saturday to help others in their community, in many cases their very own classmates. These are the youth who helped Manna; kids across the nation served their neighbors in all kinds of ways. Aristotle may have lived long before this inspiring generation, but his words still ring true: “Good habits formed in youth make all the difference.”