With bright eyes and eager minds, over 20 children gathered at Housatonic Community College with parents and guardians in tow for a fun-filled and informative program on healthy eating on November 11, 2017. The program was a wonderful collaboration between the WFWP CT chapter and the Family Economic Security Program (FESP) at Housatonic Community College. FESP provides economic, academic, and career counseling to low-income students at the college. It was truly wonderful to meet these families who are always seeking ways to strengthen their families and provide learning opportunities for their children despite economic challenges.
The parents benefited from a presentation from Dr. Mary Battilocchi, a naturopathic doctor who has been treating patients from a holistic perspective—with nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, and acupuncture—for 24 years. She shared many great insights for how parents can introduce healthier options for their kids and information the many health and behavioral benefits to having a diet high in vitamins and minerals and low in junk foods. The parents were especially excited to enter a raffle for a free consultation with Dr. Battilocchi.
While the adults were listening to Dr. Battilocchi, their kids enjoyed a fun activity with our WFWP volunteers. They learned how to “balance their plates” by choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and lean proteins in healthy amounts. Giggles and surprised exclamations were shared as we played a game in which the kids had to reach into a bag to touch a “mystery” fruit or vegetable, describe it, and guess what it was. Some the kids guessed right away and some left everyone stumped. Each was then given the opportunity to try the fruit or vegetable; for some it was the first time trying specific ones. One child even declared she liked red bell peppers after having never tried it before. Score one for expanding taste buds!
Finally, the entire group gathered back together to experience making strawberry banana green smoothies. Kids had fun dumping the ingredients into the blenders and assisting. Some expressed apprehension at the thought of having a smoothie with spinach, but that soon dissolved into delight as everyone enjoyed the smoothies together. All the kids went home with a brand new book to read with their parents.
WFWP CT has been looking forward to this project for several months, and we’re grateful for this opportunity to serve the Bridgeport community and strengthen families here. All while having fun and learning new things!