Advocacy group wins grant to continue school lunch changes

Nutrition advocacy group Real Food for Kids struck another victory for healthy food with a $25,000 grant from the Pittsburgh-based Sampson Foundation. The grant, awarded on April 9, will allow the group to expand upon their other projects, and continue to work for a healthier Fairfax County.

In the past, Real Food for Kids has lobbied for better meals and cooking facilities in public schools, influencing the School Board to allocate funds to renovate Marshall’s kitchen and push for salad bars in public schools.

Marshall’s kitchen renovation is expected to begin in June, ultimately allowing for the creation of homemade lunches instead of the current pre-made meals.

The School Board has set $100,000 aside for the construction, and plans to use this project as a test to determine whether the facilites and new lunch-making system are viable alternative to current methods. If so, the new kitchens may be installed throughout the county. Success could mean a big step forward for public school nutrition.

“We’re excited to have made so much progress. It shows the School Board really supports this move to healthier food,” JoAnne Hammermaster, president of Real Food for Kids, said in an interview with the Washington Post.

Aside from Marshall’s funding, the School Board designated $200,000 for a study to research efficent and cost-effective ways to improve nutrition both locally and nationally. Results will be elvaluated and used as a basis for modification within FCPS.

Meanwhile, Real Food for Kids pledged on their Facebook page to use the newly aquired funds to continue fighting for and developing nutritional resources in public schools.