FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Feed More Kids, a new non-profit organization, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is out to make a difference to feed more hungry kids. As one educator told the group, "The apple for the teacher has been replaced by the teacher giving out protein bars as more than half of our students come from low income families and aren't getting enough to eat at home."
Feed More Kids is not only out to feed as many hungry kids as possible, but use new technology and high tech food delivery systems to give the schools a way to feed these kids healthy breakfast, lunch and soon dinner; faster, easier and while maximizing untapped revenue from the federal government's reimbursable meals program.
"Food is available, the school leaders and food service professionals are doing everything possible, but could you serve 2,000 or more kids who descend on your cafeteria and only have a 20 minute lunch period? That is the situation in schools all across our country," said Art Dunham the retired school food service leader who is chairing Feed More Kids.
The challenge is finding ways to deliver USDA approved meals to these kids in seconds, and tie it into a system of accounting, refrigeration and creative menus and presentation – the Feed More Kids team is starting with a dependable and fast delivery system of reimbursable meal machines, to bridge the gap between available food and limited time.
"We know people in these communities want to help but the dilemma is delivering the food to the kids and making it work for the current school systems. With school days adding up to only 180 days a year, there are another 185 days when the school is closed and kids go hungry because school has become their place to get a good meal," said Dunham.
Feed More Kids was founded by a group of people in Florida who are business owners, caterers, a former hotel executive, tech experts, a food publicist and a just-retired food service director of a large district who spent decades watching the number of hungry kids in his school district grow exponentially.
"The situation has gotten to a critical place and yet a solution is right here," said Joe Gilbert, a board member of the non-profit Feed More Kids. "Testing pressure has meant the lunch period is down to just one period and it is on average just 20 minutes long. That means a kid has to get from class, to his or her locker, maybe the bathroom, grab something to eat and get to the next class, all in 20 minutes," said Gilbert a former caterer who now sells coffee and vending machines.
"There's nothing like seeing 2,000 kids all come rushing toward a school cafeteria when they are hungry and know they only have minutes to get in line in the school cafeteria," said Art Dunham, the retired Florida district food service director who serves as CEO of Feed More Kids. "The passion and great efforts of school food service staff aside, it's just impossible to feed all the kids, given the restraints. "
"Not that long ago our job was to serve a nutritious lunch. Today there is a need to serve breakfast and dinner too, and on days when school is not in session as well as when it is," added Dunham.
The problem comes down to a few simple facts:
- Kids are hungry and will eat, given opportunity
- School lunch periods are averaging 20 minutes out of 6+ hours a day in school
- Food is available, delivery of the meals is the major problem
- School resources cannot keep up with demand
- Communities and individuals want to be part of the solution
- Things have to change now
"I've been in the vending business for 50 years," said Gilbert "I asked myself why not vending machines? All over the world vending serves hungry people and we can use them to serve healthy food to hungry kids right here in the USA; in less than 20 seconds."
"The issue is one of coordination – to bring together the community, food suppliers, farmers, Chefs, concerned leadership, local businesses, philanthropists and others who know if we don't step up and offer a hand right now, the next generation will not be fit to lead a business, for military duty or even to get a college degree so they can teach others," said Gilbert.
Feed More Kids is working with school nutritionists, Chefs, community and business leaders, parents, and others who want to help solve this problem, and do it quickly.
As more people ask how they can help, we are delivering reimbursable meal vending machines to schools across the US as fast as we can and hoping fewer kids are hungry and schools are getting help too, said Gilbert.
"We feed the world with what we produce in the USA, now we need to Feed More Kids, our kids right here in the United States. No kid should be hungry if food is available," said Gilbert. "We can make food available 24/7/365 through a coordinated effort and dispensed in less than 20 seconds through a refrigerated machine that is full of healthy and beautiful food."
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SOURCE Feed More Kids