FRANKFORT — North Country Eat Smart New York (ESNY) partnered with the local Kiwanis Chapter last month on a healthy food drive initiative at Frankfort-Schuyler Elementary School.
Food pantries fill the gap for families that struggle to make ends meet, but many of the donations they typically receive are high in sugar, fat, sodium, and calories, and often lack other important nutrients.
This can be especially hard on children and those living with chronic disease. That’s why this year North Country Eat Smart New York (ESNY) has chosen Nourish Your Neighbor (NYN), a healthy food drive initiative, as one of its environmental change objectives.
ESNY nutrition educators from Cornell Cooperative Extensions in Oneida and Herkimer Counties worked with Frankfort-Schuyler Elementary School in Herkimer County to make their school food drive a NYN food drive in partnership with the local chapter of Kiwanis. The month long drive ended February 19.
Along with promotional materials including donation boxes, ESNY staff provided a nutrition presentation for 80 kids at the Kiwanis (K) Kids Club meeting in January. ESNY educators Sue Elliot and Kayla Slater discussed what makes a healthy food drive and led the students in an activity to create a healthy plate.
The drive collected 619 items and over 90% of them were healthy items. The donated food went to the following food pantries: Ilion-Frankfort (Catholic Charities), Little Falls (Catholic Charities), and Herkimer Salvation Army. Elementary school teacher Heather Scialdo felt that the food drive was a big success and was very happy with the materials, promotion, and organization and how the ESNY educators helped to kick-off the event. She hopes to hold another NYN food drive with students again in the future.
A healthy food drive emphasizes more nutritious foods such as:
Brown rice, oats, and other whole grains
Low-sodium canned veggies
Healthy proteins like tuna, chicken, nuts, and seeds
Canned fruits and 100% fruit juice with no added sugars
It’s easy to get started and ESNY will provide all the materials and resources any school or organization would need free-of-charge. These include:
Food donation bags
Healthy shopping lists
Food collection boxes
Any additional promotional resources