Throwing Apples Away


Recently I’ve been traveling around the country and meeting people who tell me amazing things. Just last night, while sitting by the pool in Austin, Texas on a balmy and sultry evening, a new friend of mine told me something that really shocked me.

Belinda is a teacher of mostly Hispanic, low-income students in Austin and her students do something that is hard to believe.

While supervising the kids at break time she happened to notice a child toss her apple in the trash. She went over to her and asked why she did that and was met with a shrug. Then she looked in the trash can and saw that she was not the only one. There were over a dozen apples from other students who had thrown their apples away.

Without thinking she let out a shriek and began scooping them up and telling the children that apples are nutritious and they need to eat them.

What Belinda observed is a phenomenon where kids that are malnourished begin to crave sweets, salty and processed foods while loosing their appetite for healthy, nutritious foods.

Another challenge is poverty. One day, Belinda spoke to a girl sitting alone one day at lunchtime. She was eating a grilled cheese sandwich. When she went to sit with her, the child said she didn’t want to eat it. When asked why she explained that she was tired of eating so many grilled cheese sandwiches over the past weeks. Her parents only could afford tortillas, bread and government cheese.

So, we sat there by the pool eating our spring rolls with fresh cut vegetables and sunflower sprouts, hummus, crackers and cheese discussing what could be done.

I offered to make juice out of the apples and teach the kids about nutrition. The red tape and administrative hoops made that idea vanish. But then, Belinda said that she wanted to do it. She would show the kids how delicious fresh juice is and why it’s good for them in class.

I thought this was terrific and offered my juicer for her (and a quick lesson to show her the ropes).

Teachers are affected by their classes nutrition. In areas of low income and minority areas like Austin, children are in crisis – yes, this is the United States and not a third world country. These children grow up with parents who both work, often two or three jobs just to keep them clothed and housed.

I have to humbly acknowledge all of the teachers out there who go above and beyond, like Belinda. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for caring for and teaching our children.

Thanks Belinda.

Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. Reblogging, if you don’t mind. Thanks.

  2. […]   Recently Ive been traveling around the country and meeting people who tell me amazing things. Just last night, while sitting by the pool in Austin, Texas on a balmy and sultry evening, a new friend of mine told me something that really shocked me. Belinda is a teacher of mostly Hispanic, low-income students in Austin and her students do something that is hard to believe. While supervising the kids at break time she happened to notice a child tos … Read More […]

  3. Chris, Are you following Food Revolution with Jamie Oliver on abc.com? He is running into the same problems in Los Angeles. Poverty and food desserts combine to create an oasis for obesity and diabetes, and kids do not know anything else. Truly a tragic situation, and we need more nutrition in school.

    Keep up the great blogging, Chris Rio

    • I am aware of this show. The challenge is pervasive and systemic, requiring this and many other strategies in order to reverse the course our nation is headed, with regard to food security issues. Novella Carpenter, Michael Pollan, Michelle Obama and others are leading the charge with progressive ideas and initiatives.

      I’m excited about the possibility of challenging this epidemic with radical self-reliance and community building. I look forward to the time when children are getting all of the fruits and vegetables they need in order to build healthy bodies and minds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: