Our Wellness work comes alive inside school buildings and communities. We make tahini dressing with students in classrooms, we high-five one another on the recess yard, and we work side by side with school food staff in the cafeteria kitchen. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that our programming will look different for the 2020-2021 school year. However, our mission has not changed: we will continue teaching kids healthy habits to learn and live better.
We know that COVID-19 has impacted our most vulnerable communities. We also know that there is overwhelming data on how this pandemic disproportionately impacts Black and Brown communities, who experience a higher percentage of diet-related disease. We are thus prioritizing by strengthening and reinforcing the relationships we have made with students, guardians, teachers, and school staff over the years. We are listening more intentionally and actively, and customizing our wellness work based on what schools most want and need. In that spirit, we will continue to do the following:
- Work closely with our schools through our remote online learning platform, featuring pre-recorded, live and blended fitness and nutrition content.
- Adapt our fitness program in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.
- Highlight our WITS Fitness Partners who are providing content free of charge.
- Produce “A Bite of Wellness” with BronxNet TV, where viewers can watch our WITS Chefs give a cooking demonstration even without WiFi or computer access. This can be viewed biweekly on Tuesday nights at 8PM EST, on Channel 70 on Optimum, 36 on FiOs, and also here.
- Support school districts by providing Wellness trainings, focusing not only on nutrition and culinary education, but also overall well-being.
- Support emergency feeding efforts.
- Work with our parent and guardian community, ensuring that they have the most up-to-date resources available for navigating the pandemic and other related challenges.
- Pursue change on a systematic level by advocating for freshly prepared meals nationwide, specifically through our ScratchWorks initiative.
We remain immensely grateful towards our School Food Heroes for continuing to show up for our students, day after day, and we are honored to be serving our communities during this time. Thank you to our community for standing beside us during this truly unprecedented school year.