“We are very excited. This is a great opportunity to work with the food bank and our families,” said Oakley Elementary Principal Kathy Kruse. “We had over 300 families sign up for this program and we think it’s going to be fabulous.”
Sponsored by the Contra Costa and Solano County Food Bank, the Farm 2 Kids program provides fruits and vegetables to children with families struggling to make ends meet. Each week, Farm 2 Kids provides 3 to 5 pounds of fresh produce to more than 6,500 children in approximately 60 area schools.
Maryann Hussey, assistant superintendent of Student Services for the Oakley Union Elementary School District, said the food bank contacted her last spring to extend an invitation to participate in the program.
“We got the call because Oakley Elementary has over 50 percent of their students receiving free or reduced school lunches, and that’s part of the criteria,” said Hussey. “So of course we said we were interested. We’re very excited; I think it is going to be fabulous.”
And while the purpose of the Farm 2 Kids pilot program is to supply fresh food to children and their families, the project also provides an opportunity to teach students about healthy living and proper nutrition.
“It’s a program with a couple of goals, and we like that,” said Kruse. “It’s about more than just increasing students’ access to fresh food and veggies.”
And access to items will vary as the seasons change. This month, said Hussey, it’s likely that bags will be filled with lots of fruit, while in the fall corn, peas and other vegetables will be more abundant.
“We were told that the foods will change depending upon what’s in season and what’s available, such as more carrots and oranges in the winter and potatoes in the fall,” said Hussey. “But that will be fun for the kids; they may get to try a fruit or vegetable they’ve never seen before. We’re really excited.”
To volunteer for the program, or for more information, call Oakley Elementary at 925-625-7050.