AURORA | Aurora Public Schools will distribute £ 14,000 of fresh produce to families in need after receiving a grant from Partnership for a Healthier America.
It is part of a program that APS hopes will help families gain sustainable access to long-term food.
After school was out of the way last spring, Kate Garvin, director of family representation and community engagement at APS, organized virtual home visits to around 3,500 families in the action zone to see how students feel about online learning and psychological learning Student health and what families behaved needs were during the pandemic. The action zone consists of five schools in north Aurora: Aurora Central High School, Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, Boston P-8 School, Crawford Elementary School, and Paris Elementary School.
“We had to assume that we no longer knew what was going on in the community and what our needs really were when we closed our doors,” said Garvin. “We wanted to make sure we kept our trust and continued to be a resource center for our families outside of school.”
Food insecurity is a recurring problem, Garvin said. Families in particular have expressed a desire for products, saying that most of the food that was distributed in pantries was shelf stable and that they had little opportunity to get fresh food.
APS has partnered with Colorado Children’s Hospital to serve families and has focused on food distribution during the pandemic, Garvin said. However, Garvin said APS wanted to work with the hospital to find a more long-term solution and decided to set up “food clinics” which will open this spring.
Located in Crawford and Aurora Central, the clinics provide food distribution, nutrition and health education, and staff who work with families to ensure they are enrolled for whatever benefits they are entitled to, such as: B. Grocery stamps.
“The food clinics will really be the focal point where a family just comes to eat, but we will work with the family on many different aspects of support and access to make sure they are getting all of the different benefits that children need to get to be healthy, ”said Garvin.
APS also applied for and received the Fresh Food Fund grant under the Partnership for a Healthier America, which will provide APS with fresh produce for 15 weeks. As of January, the fund was delivering £ 750 a week in products and rose to £ 1,000 in March.
Partnership for a Healthier America is a national nonprofit committed to helping children and families have access to fresh food.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has marked wide disparities in access to healthy food for many Americans, especially in low-income communities,” CEO Nancy E. Roman said in a press release. “With the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, we have successfully met a critical short-term emergency need for food in thousands of households with high needs.”
The products are packed in cardboard boxes that are suitable for families for a week and contain both fruit and vegetables. Each box contains recipes from Food Bridge, an incubator for minority and immigrant chefs in Denver. The recipes are provided according to the press release, taking into account the demographics of the district.
Ultimately, APS hopes this is a first step in finding a long-term path that will allow families better access to nutritious foods.
“Our vision of the community schools’ work is to create a culture of health for the northwestern aurora,” said Garvin. “We know that healthy children will learn better.”