Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) announced that it has awarded grants for more than 500 free salad bars through the Salad Bar Project, a campaign created to help empower schools to increase their students’ lunchtime consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Whole Foods Market shoppers surpassed the goal of $750,000, donating more than $1.4 million to the Salad Bar Project during the grocer’s four-week in-store and online fundraising campaign in September. The company partnered with Chef Ann Cooper’s nonprofit, F3: Food Family Farming Foundation, to administer the grant application process. The Foundation received over 700 applications and has scheduled shipment of 460 salad bars to date, and is finalizing the review of 90 additional qualifying schools. Brandon, El Camino, Ellwood, Foothill, Hollister, Isla Vista, Kellogg, La Patera and Mountain View elementary schools are among the schools set to receive a free salad bar. Visit saladbars2schools.org for a current list of schools that have received salad bars.
“We were blown away by the generosity of our shoppers. We nearly doubled the number of schools we had originally expected to support,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. “With such a robust amount of funds raised, we are thrilled to be able to offer a salad bar to every school that qualified and are proud to support the courageous efforts of schools that want to provide kids in our communities more fresh healthy options in the lunchroom.”
To make an even larger impact in lunchrooms across the country, Whole Foods Market announced it is a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, whose goal is to provide 6,000 salad bars across the nation by 2013.
Each day, 31.5 million children depend on the National School Lunch Program for meals. According to a 2009 study by scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just one percent of adolescents ate as many servings of fruit and vegetables as recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
“The best part about the salad bars is the smiles on the kids’ faces when they see the great fresh choices we can now offer,” said Jamie Smith, manager of food services for Santa Cruz City Schools. “They have quickly made theme bar days like “taco salad bar” and “make your own veggie pita” some of our most popular days.”
All schools receiving grants from the Salad Bar Project will be sent healthy salad bar kits in the next few weeks. The kits include a five-well Cambro® salad bar complete with utensils, pan inserts, chilling pads and training tools. Salad bar training tools and videos for school nutrition staff will also be available through TheLunchBox.org, which Whole Foods Market shoppers helped to raise funds to build in 2009 so all schools can have access to healthier food tools and tips.
For more information about Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, visit saladbars2schools.org.