This post originally appeared on the USDA blog on April 21, 2011.
Seeing the results of Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs up close is always an amazing experience as an FNS employee. In this case, I had that opportunity in Dallas recently at the Jubilee Park & Community Center. Founded in 1997, along with AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity and several faith-based organizations, the Center serves as a catalyst for community renewal and enrichment.
Jubilee Park is instrumental in revitalizing the neighborhood it surrounds, offering numerous classes and after-school programs for both children and adults.
Through our partnership, FNS nutritionists visit and highlight the benefits of healthy eating to the program’s children. With up to 100 kids in attendance daily, the sessions present a great opportunity to spread important nutritional messages. Recently, Richard Burley, a nutritionist from SNAP, volunteered to conduct a healthy snack demonstration.
I assisted Richard in his presentation to the students from Kindergarten to sixth grade. With his easy- to- understand style, Richard kept their attention on topics ranging from healthy eating habits to the importance of exercise.
It was then time to make a snack. The nutritionist began by showing off four bowls of fruit full of grapes, mandarin oranges, bananas and pineapple. Taking some of each, he mixed them in a large bowl with granola and low fat yogurt.. He served – the healthy treat in serving-sized cups to students and staff alike, and it tasted great. People even came back for seconds!
This was a great opportunity to share the agency’s message of healthy eating and ending hunger. We plan to return to Jubilee in the near future to gauge their anticipated success.
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Edward Mekeel is a USDA FNS Public Affairs Specialist in the Southwest Regional Office.