Christmas has come early for public schools in New York City. After the entire school system declared cafeteria lunches completely free of charge, a Brooklyn establishment took a step further. As a back-to-school treat, P.S. 276 provided 600 students with free supply-filled backpacks.
“When students have the basic supplies, their attitude, their behavior and even their self-esteem increases,” Dave Smith of KINF (Kids In Need Foundation) said.
Popular pen brand Bic was also in on the action. On average, Americans spend around $78.5 billion on back-to-school supplies annually. That’s literally a ton of notebooks.
“They were so happy and I’ve never seen them this way. They were so excited. I can see the excitement on their faces, they were thrilled!” teacher Alice Whitaker said. “They were so happy and they were looking at stuff that they never saw before.”
Over 22 years, KINF has donated $900 million worth of school supplies to children under the poverty line. Remember — there’s more to a pen than just ink.
Lately, the New York public school system has been on a roll with its feeding programs. Since its city council decided to offer free cafeteria lunches, there are now also options for vegans.
The upcoming vegan food options range from Mexicali Chili to Lentil Stew, to Zesty BBQ Crunchy Tofu — all which sounds pretty like a big improvement from conventional school lunches which are often highly processed meats or fried food.
Behind the movement is the Coalition for Health School Food, which has also helped three NYC schools go completely vegetarian. The vegan choices will allow food autonomy to children as well as lower their carbon footprint. While many parents have expressed concern over vegan diets, research can put their minds at ease.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) have recently confirmed that “they believe a well-planned vegan diet ‘supports healthy living in people of all ages’ including ‘during pregnancy and breastfeeding.’”
Of course, students will be given the freedom to choose their own meals. Though a typical second-grader may be more privy to chicken nuggets, encouraging a side of vegetables may not be too difficult.
Soup kitchens have been a regular source of free meals for the needy and are branching out across the nation. Backed mostly by volunteers and, occasionally, independent farmers, establishments are fighting world hunger a day at a time. To make its own donation and break a world record, Green Giant cooked up a 637-pound green bean casserole.
“We wanted to celebrate our inaugural year in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by baking up some excitement while helping so many people in this incredible city,” Jordan Greenberg, Green Giant’s vice president, said in a statement.
The tasty dish, which comprised of 780 cans of green beans, fed a whopping 2,000 elderly New Yorkers. A handful of Stella 34 Trattoria chefs took the lead, accompanied by the Green Giant mascot himself. While the serving trumped the last record-setting casserole by 81 pounds, the event was all about giving back.
[Greenberg] added that the company “has been a staple in Thanksgiving feasts for more than 100 years.”
The amount of enthusiasm on social media proves that green bean casserole truly never gets old.