Fairfax group receives $25k grant to bring healthy meals to school lunchrooms

An advocacy group focused on bringing healthier meals to Fairfax County students has won a $25,000 grant to help improve school meal nutrition.

Real Food for Kids, a Fairfax-based organization founded by school parents, received the grant from the Myles D. and Faye J. Sampson foundation. The money will fund Real Food for Kids events and programs for a year, according to the group.

“Healthful nutrition is the fuel for our children’s physical, mental and emotional well-being,” said Holli Rivera, executive director of the Pittsburgh-based Sampson Foundation. “Every child deserves better in their quest to learn and grow. We highly respected the collaborative, practical and solutions-oriented approach taken by Real Food for Kids.”

Real Foods for Kids began as an effort to bring salads and made-from-scratch meals to lunchrooms to improve nutrition and rid school meals of chemical additives.

According to a 2012 Post story, Fairfax regulations allowed students to nosh on frozen pizzas filled with 70 ingredients, including bleaching agents, mutlisyllabic emulsifiers and preservatives.

JoAnne Hammermaster, co-founder and president of Real Foods for Kids, said her group was grateful to be working with the Sampson Foundation.

“We both understand what a profound impact health and nutrition can have on learning,” Hammermaster said. “We will use the funds wisely as we continue to work toward positive change in school food.”

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.

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