Although school is out, students in New York City are still learning…about nutrition. The Food Bank for New York City, as a part of its Change One Thing campaign, has launched a Change One Thing truck. The redesigned ice truck has pictures of healthy snacks on one side and a large touchscreen with an interactive, educational game on the other. The game is called “Plate Invaders,” and it teaches children about nutrition and healthy eating.
President and CEO of the Food Bank Margarette Purvis says that hunger in the city is a year-round problem, so in the summer, the problem doesn’t go away. Hunger is “the reality for millions” throughout the city, said Purvis.
The truck goes to different parts of the city and parks for a few hours during the day near pools, parks and places where there are free summer meals. Purvis said the truck is never parked in a neighborhood and not surrounded by kids. The kids are offered water, apples slices and other healthy snacks and they are informed about different free summer meals in their neighborhood.
The program is meant to get kids to realize “healthy eating is fun too.” It’s aimed at teens and preteens in order to open their eyes to other nutritional options. Purvis said that what they want the youth to understand is that “it’s not what you have to do, it’s what you can do.” In order to attract teens, the team had to realize that preaching doesn’t work.
Purvis said the truck has attracted neighborhood teens and preteens, but it has also attracted adults. It is informative for the whole neighborhood because they are informed about free meal programs in their own area and about just how many people hunger affects around them.
The truck will continue going around the city until Sept. 2. This Friday, the truck will be at Play Streets at Westbourne Playground between Mott Avenue and Beach 25 Street in Queens from 12-4 p.m. On Saturday, it will be at the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education Block Party, East 163rd and Barretto streets in the Bronx, for possibly the whole day. Look out for the truck in your neighborhood.
To learn more about the Change One Thing truck, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit foodbanknyc.org or follow the Food Bank for New York City on Twitter @foodbank4nyc, which has regular updates on the Change One Thing truck’s schedule.