The Whole Kids Foundation® has the mission to improve children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and through the 2016 Growing Healthy Kids campaign, the foundation raised $2.8 million to fund programs that give school children better access to fruits and vegetables.
Whole Foods Market encouraged shoppers and team members to help raise money through in-store events and by making donations at store checkout or online. Whole Foods Market covered operating costs, allowing 100% of every dollar donated to the Growing Healthy Kids campaign to go directly to the Foundation’s programs.
Nona Evans, president and executive director of Whole Kids Foundation, said, “We are so grateful to Whole Foods Market shoppers, team members and supplier partners who donated generously to this year’s Growing Healthy Kids campaign. These funds give us the ability to support students and teachers through our programs, and to expand our reach to new communities and schools.”
Schools have been shown to have an enormous impact on helping children develop healthy eating habits and on helping them find nutritious foods. The Pew Charitable Trusts found studies showing greater use of salad bars in schools is more effective for getting students to eat a higher amount of fruits and vegetables.
Since 2011 when the foundation was founded, Whole Kids Foundation has raised more than $21 million. The Growing Healthy Kids campaign is one of the integral fundraising initiatives that allowed the foundation to invest $18 million in programs that have served more than four million children in the United States, Canada and the U.K.
In five years, the foundation provided funds for more than 3,700 school gardens and implemented 4,793 salad bars in schools. With its healthy teacher education program, Whole Kids Foundation reached 13,000 teachers. This program is available at no cost to all schools. In this same time period, Whole Foods Market team members gave more than one million dollars from their own paychecks in support of the foundation. Brands such as Annie’s, Applegate, Back to Nature, Barbara’s Bakery, Cascadian Farm, Clif Kid, Health Warrior, King Arthur Flour, Organic Valley, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Stonyfield Farm and Tom’s of Maine joined the effort by contributing critical financial support that drove the programs forward.
After the successful five-year period, Evans said, “After five years, we clearly see a shift toward a culture of health and nutrition for children and are proud to be part of that momentum. We are energized by the impact of our work and remain focused on innovative solutions that will help us reach even more children, improving their nutrition and access to healthy food.”