We know that a healthy heart is essential to stay alive, but sometimes we take it for granted. To be able to do everyday activities we enjoy, like playing soccer with friends or taking a walk on a nice day, it is important to keep healthy habits so that our hearts stay strong. Some of those habits include: making healthy food choices, exercising regularly, abstaining from tobacco, and managing stress.
These daily behaviors are important for people of all ages, but especially for young children since their bodies are still developing and their long-term lifestyle habits are being formed. To lay a healthy foundation for a growing child, it is the parent or caretaker’s responsibility to provide them with nutritious meals and teach them healthy habits. Unfortunately, some families lack the resources and/or education to be able to provide these things for their children. Some barriers include:
- Living in a food desert.
- Lacking transportation or funds to purchase healthy food.
- Not knowing what foods are actually “healthy”.
The Rees-Jones Foundation understands these struggles, and as such, supports organizations that provide both fresh produce (and kid-friendly items too) and nutrition education for children and their families. A few of those organizations in Dallas County include Brighter Bites, North Texas Food Bank, and Metrocrest Services. Though these organizations play different roles, they each work to tackle this issue by providing healthy food to hungry kids and teaching them how and why eating healthy food is important:
- Brighter Bites selects 8-12 varieties of North Texas Food Bank’s fresh produce weekly, takes it in grocery sacks to under-resourced schools, and shares recipe cards and healthy food samples using the bagged produce while distributing the sacks to families. Learn more here.
- North Texas Food Bank offers low-income families free culinary and nutrition education, and locally and nationally-sourced fresh produce. More than 20 community gardens also donate 10 percent of their yield to local Partner Agencies so that families in need can have the freshest produce available. Learn more here.
- Metrocrest Services is a Partner Agency of North Texas Food Bank that operates a food pantry for low-income families and their children. With a recent pantry improvement made possible by North Texas Food Bank, the agency can now store and distribute even more fresh produce they receive from the Food Bank and area gardens. Learn more here.
Most recently, The Rees-Jones Foundation funded a grant to support the North Texas Food Bank’s Stop Hunger Build Hope capital campaign. Once complete, it will include an improved food distribution facility and expanded network of food distribution partners, which will result in providing more hungry children and families with snacks and meals that include fresh produce.
Photo credit: Metrocrest Services, North Texas Food Bank, and Brighter Bites.