Buffalo Faculty dad and mom and college students are pushing for a brand new “wellness program,” extra wholesome meals choices

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – In a normal year, the Buffalo School District would serve around 29,000 meals a day as part of the largely federally funded child nutrition program. Since the pandemic started, Food Services Director Bridget O’Brien Wood said they only cook between 10,000 and 12,000 meals a day.

“We get reimbursed for every meal we serve,” said Wood. “Because our meals have fallen sharply, we’ve lost a lot of sales because we don’t have the capacity to serve 29,000 children when they are out of school.”

The school district participates in the National School Lunch Program, which gives every student access to a free meal. This program requires a wellness policy that has not been updated in more than three years.

“It’s time to update it and get it working again,” said Wood. “With everything in COVID, we’ve lost a bit of ground where we’ve been and where we want to go back.”

Community Health Worker Parent Association president Jessica Bauer Walker told 7 Eyewitness News that the district has lost its focus on wellness this school year.

“The kids are getting a lot more processed or reheated foods,” Walker said. “We have to make sure that we invest so we can take advantage of the programs and if kids want to eat fruits and vegetables they can have a salad.” Every day.”

Walker said at least 30 Buffalo schools have gardens where children can grow and eat their own vegetables.

“They plant something and they watch it grow and then they can taste it. It’s a really empowering experience. We have our neighbors in the community who move their houses and water the garden for us. “

Walker said she is also pushing for funding for the $ 232 million the district received from the American Rescue Fund, along with funds from the general budget.

“If we make sure the Central Food Service Kitchen is prepped to full capacity and all of our kitchens are repaired, it will be a great investment that we will benefit from for years to come,” said Walker.

Walker said she is also pushing for a district wellness coordinator to be brought back, a position that has been vacant year-round.

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