Food Bank for New York City brought nutritional awareness along with a free nutritious lunch to more than 160 day campers at P.S. 186 in Bensonhurst on August 18.
Teen Ambassadors from Food Bank’s “EATWISE” program (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating) demonstrated the benefits of healthy eating to campers ages nine to 13 from Neighborhood Improvement Association’s ExpandED Day Camp in Bensonhurst.
“The unique thing about EATWISE is that it’s teens teaching teens,” explained Food Bank’s Director of Health Education and Nutrition, Jeannie Fournier. “It’s total peer nutrition-education and really tells why it’s important to live a healthy and active lifestyle. With the rates of obesity and chronic health problems that affect so many New Yorkers, Food Bank for New York City feels it’s very important to ensure that we’re providing effective programming that is going to reach kids.”
The demonstration included jumping rope, hula-hooping, a virtual game and a race involving matching different foods to their respective food groups. Following the activities, a nutritional meal was served by Food Bank Ambassador and Chef Max Hardy.
“It’s imperative to show kids that changing one thing in their diet can really help them grow and mature,” said Hardy who, along with his organization One Chef Can 86 Hunger, has been partnered with Food Bank for a year. “Hunger is one of those issues where we think of people in the street that don’t have any food, but kids are walking around malnourished or not eating the right thing. People don’t realize it but it’s a true epidemic that we’re trying to put an end to.”
The meal consisted of a healthy turkey avocado wrap, fruit salad, granola bar and water.
“There are a lot of people, children especially, who come from families that can’t afford a lot of food,” said EATWISE Teen Ambassador Annie Wu. “We want to let people know that they don’t have to change their whole entire lifestyle in order to become healthy. They can just change one thing like drinking water instead of soda.”
The EATWISE program was established in 2002 and is part of Food Bank’s summer series of events that have been running citywide this summer as means of addressing childhood hunger and promoting healthy eating.