I found a new (to me) organization, signed up to volunteer, and spent a couple hours there yesterday making weekend food bags for children at two schools. They distribute 80 bags a week, but I was only able to do about 50 of them. The bags had mostly snack type foods (granola bites, those chewy fruit snacks, etc ), but also contained juices, canned pasta, and a box of mac & cheese. I looked at the calorie, sodium and sugar counts on these foods and they were astronomically high, especially for elementary age kids. The can of pasta for example had over 1200 mg of sodium. I know they can only work with what they get, mostly donations, but health is defininately not a priority here. I’m not sure if this sort of “help” is doing these kids more harm than good in terms of health and development. I guess the thought is: better that they eat something even if it isn’t the best for them. I am very mentally torn in half on the benefits. The best thing, obviously, would be fruits and vegetables, but that’s a little harder to come by I’m sure.
Helping? I think…maybe? January 16, 2009