Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nutrition and children

Back to school time puts lots of great kids on our streets here in inner city Dallas. I love watching them and watching out for them as I go to work or as I drive during the day when they are returning home.

This morning I saw a little boy around 5-years-old who caused me concern.

He trailed along behind a woman, I assume his mother. In one hand he carried a small bag of chips. In the other, a can of soda. It was about 8:00 a.m. I assume what I saw in his hands was his breakfast for the day. I hope not, but I'm almost certain it was his first "meal" of the day.

Nutrition drives health, both short and long term. Nutrition plays a large role in determining wellness outcomes of a person's lifetime.

Food has always been a huge part of what we do here at Central Dallas Ministries (CDM), and for good reason. Everything here is about health and wellness outcomes.

But, nutrition, or the lack thereof, is a growing problem/challenge for us.

CDM contracts with the Texas Department of Agriculture to provide summer and after school lunches and snacks to children living in low-income households here in Dallas, as well as in Austin this past summer.

Our program, we call it Nurture, Knowledge and Nutrition, has grown dramatically for us.

For example, in 2008, CDM served 239,041 meals from January through June.

This year over the same period we have served 298,117 meals.

The figure for 2009 does not include over 50,000 additional meals, including breakfast meals, that we served in our new partnership with PepsiCo/Frito-Lay here in Dallas.

Improving nutrition for inner city families is a huge part of what we do here.

The little boy I saw this morning reminded me of just how crucial this work really is.


Anonymous said...

In the morning I have seen children with a parent coming out of a 7-11. The child will be drinking a soda or chocolate milk and as often as not will have a big grab bag of chips.
I have seen kids waiting for the bus with a big bag of Doritos.
I think that people feel like any food is better than no food. How do you get the word out that our children should be eating healthy food.


Cody said...

A timely post for me. I just read an article in TIME talking about the state of the food industry in the U.S.

The article and your post are very concerning and almost overwhelming. How can you change a system like this?