|Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles distributes fresh produce at a Healthy Kids Market.|
Sylvia Fowles spends most of her time blocking shots and scoring baskets for the Chicago Sky. On Wednesday, May 22, Sylvia and her teammates handled nutritious food instead of basketballs.
Behind tables full of fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy shelf-stable food, the Sky took some time after practice and volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Healthy Kids Market at Beidler Elementary School in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.
Healthy Kids Markets provide low-income families with a variety of healthy food options each week, which they can take home to make wholesome meals for their children.
Sylvia said the team thinks it’s important for children to get healthy meals.
“We all know that food is important,” she said. “Everybody needs to eat. Food gets you going throughout your day.”
The Sky and its foundation, Sky Cares, are partnered with the Food Depository and No Kid Hungry Illinois to raise awareness about child hunger in the Chicago area. Currently, 1 in 5 children in Cook County are food insecure.
“That’s a lot of people,” Sylvia said. “It makes you think. It makes you see how fortunate you are to be able to come out here and help.”
Research shows that child hunger can have a negative impact on the academic, physical and behavioral developments of the students.
Nikki Crowder is the Healthy Kids Market coordinator at Beidler Elementary School. She said the program has been effective in making kids aware of better options.
“A lot of them don’t know they have options other than fast food or junk food,” Nikki said. “Now, they are getting used to seeing healthy food and are excited about seeing it and are wanting it.”
Nikki said many of the students at Beidler are raised by their grandparents. This can make it difficult for them to get to pantries to get the food they need. By having a Healthy Kids Market at the school– where parents or guardians already have to come to pick up the children – the Food Depository is creating greater access to nutritious food each week.
See photos of the event on Facebook.
To learn more about the Food Depository’s programs like Healthy Kids Market and how you can support the fight against hunger, visit chicagosfoodbank.org.
Thanks to the Chicago Sky for volunteering!