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Eat REAL Receives $25k grant to Deepen Work in Monterey County

Eat REAL has received a $25,000 grant from the Stephen and Madeleine Conran Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CMFC). This is the second year running that we have received generous support from the foundation. The grant will support deepening our presence in Monterey county and anchoring our work to increase nutrition access with two prominent school districts serving over 7,000 children. Monterey county is the “salad bowl of the U.S.” producing a significant percentage of our country’s produce and it is so critical that the children of the region also have access to these healthy options. 

Both North Monterey County Unified School District (NMCUSD) and South Monterey County Joint Union High School District (SMCJUHSD) serve a population where approximately 85% of students come from economically disadvantaged communities. They are committed to increasing nutrition equity and increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables for the students they serve. On average, a child can receive 50% or more  of their daily calories from school meals. 

“We are so grateful for the investment the foundation is making to support our goals for our school meals program,” says Sarah Doherty, Director of Nutrition Services & Wellness at NMCUSD, “The changes we are working with Eat REAL to implement in the cafeteria will fuel our students for success and empower them to take ownership of their health through their food choices.” 

Joining Eat REAL at the beginning of the 2019 school year, both of these districts are currently working through action plans to elevate meal offerings and incorporate more local and seasonal produce, educating students on the impact their food choices have on their health. 

With support from the grant, Eat REAL is working with their food service teams to continue to increase fresh produce and fruit offerings and consumption, implement more scratch cooking, and increase whole grain offerings. Our program also facilitates student and community education around these changes, why they are happening and why they are important. Working together with the talented food service directors, we’re building awareness on connection between health and wellness + a real food diet. These changes alone, have been linked to a potential 60% decrease in risk for adolescent diabetes according to the CDC! 

“The funding Eat REAL is receiving from the foundation supports us in partnering with incredible and dedicated leaders with a passion for providing their students with delicious and nutritious meals.” says Nora LaTorre, Eat REAL CEO, “Together, as a community, we are making sure these students receive the nutrition they need to flourish.”

We are truly grateful to the Stephen and Madeleine Conran Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County for their support to expand our work throughout this region of California.  Together, we’re increasing health awareness and real food access so these children can thrive in school and beyond.

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