By Thomas Fisher, WhyHunger Communications Intern
Chef Aarón and the kids having some fun after their cooking demo. It showed them how to make healthy snacks using flat bread, salad, bean paste, and pico de gallo .
“I live in Bushwick and see kids playing at the neighborhood parks,” said WhyHunger Chef Ambassador Aarón Sánchez. “It’s so important for them to have a place to come during the summer months where they can have a good meal. Initiatives like this ensure that kids always have access to a good meal.” In a Bushwick, Brooklyn, cafeteria at the Summer Food Service Program site at IS 347, about 50 children involved in four local summer youth programs were excitedly watching a cooking demo by Chef Aarón.
The focus of the event- hosted by WhyHunger with USDA Food and Nutrition Services and the NYC Dept. of Education, was to show the kids that healthy meals can be delicious and teach them how to easily prepare nutritious meals at home. Chef Aarón started with a quick intro and shared his background as a NYC public school success story, telling the kids to never stop thanking the people who educate and nurture them. After the intro and some lessons on the cultural history behind the ingredients, Chef Aarón wasted no time and got right into the action giving step-by-step Pico De Gallo instructions and great tips for the kids along the way.
WhyHunger Senior Program Director Alison Cohen said at the event, “Summer is one of the most challenging times for families who rely on school meals to ensure their kids are getting proper nutrition, which is why WhyHunger works in all 50 states to connect children in need with healthy meals.”
The Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, even stopped by and thanked Chef Aaron and NYC Public Schools executive Chef Jorge Collazo for giving back.
During the school year, nearly 31 million kids rely on USDA-provided breakfast and lunch to get the nutrition they need. “It makes me very proud to have gone through the New York City school system to see how they’re very invested in making sure these kids are well fed and giving them programs to keep them active,” Sanchez said. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was established to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. For example I.S. 347 normally provides 320 youth with breakfast and lunch on a daily basis, providing a much needed support system for families during the summer months. Working with the USDA, WhyHunger connects kids with fresh, well-balanced meals all summer long through the National Hunger Hotline (1-866-3-HUNGRY) and online resource directoryby making direct connections to to free, local summer meals sites.
This event is part of WhyHunger’s national Summer Meals Rock for Kids campaign to raise awareness and funds for fighting hunger all summer long. In addition to the demo, Chef Aarón joins other WhyHunger Ambassadors like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Chicago and more by donating an in-home cooking session to auction off for the Summer Meals Rock for Kids campaign. Learn more at whyhunger.org/aaphsummer
To find a summer meals site near you, call: 1.866.3HUNGRY (1.866.348.6479) or visit /findfood