Open Door received a $25,000 grant through Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, School-Based Health Center Food Access Learning Network to address food insecurity at Port Chester Middle School (PCMS). Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign is a national campaign committed to ending childhood hunger in the U.S.
With this funding, families facing food or nutrition insecurity will be linked with resources through their medical visits in the School Based Health Center at Port Chester Middle School, connecting with local and regional food banks, and community organizations. Funding will also support the PCMS Giving Garden, a garden grown, maintained, and harvested by students and their families, with the harvest going to the families and community organizations that distribute it to local in-need residents.
“We see patients every day who struggle nutritionally, and we speak with their parents, all of whom want only the best for their children. Families are looking for ways to bring healthy food into their homes, protect their children from the stress of food insecurity, and help their children thrive academically. The Port Chester school district is a key partner in this initiative, and they are deeply committed to the health and wellbeing of the families in this community. We are thrilled that this grant will recognize and support our collective efforts,” states Sara Hodgdon, Director SBHC Operations, School Based health Centers Program.
During this calendar year, an estimated 500 individuals will be impacted by this program, including 200 patients screened for food insecurity, as well as 300 of their family members and classmates who will benefit from nutrition education, referrals for support, and participation in the Giving Garden.
“The Giving Garden is a crucial aspect of our curriculum. I incorporate the garden into my school-year classroom curriculum by engaging students in studies of plant life cycles, growing crops from seed, exploring the garden in different seasons, and teaching students to cook with the harvests. It’s hands on, experiential and thoroughly engaging for the students,” states Allison Silverman, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Port Chester Middle School.
The Port Chester Middle School Garden began in September 2006. All harvested crops are donated to local families in the Port Chester community. Since its inception, the Giving Garden has provided approximately 1,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce every summer to Port Chester families.