Grantee Blog

Beating the Heat with A Healthy Treat

It’s been an eventful winter and spring at the United Way of Passaic County. In May, we eagerly watched the school’s courtyard area come to life, with the addition of a brand-new school garden. The long winter meant a slightly late start to spring gardening, but once it warmed up, the students were delighted to get their hands dirty, planting peas, tomatoes, cabbage, radishes, corn, squashes, blueberries, and even watermelon. The garden provided many new learning opportunities. Students learned about plant life cycles, how to properly space seedlings, garden inhabitants like slugs and snails, and much more. The last weeks of school have been particularly exciting as we’ve been able to harvest the first peas and first blueberries of the season.

In addition to building a new garden at School 8, FoodCorps service member Amanda has been teaching bi-weekly cooking lessons to the kindergarten, first, and second grade students. They’ve learned about the MyPlate food groups, practiced knife skills while preparing a spinach salad, and sampled homemade herb butter with garden-fresh parsley and chives. This past week, the second grade classes celebrated the end of the school year and the summer solstice with “ice cream,” made by blending together frozen bananas and cherries. The sweet but healthy treat was a crowd-pleaser, especially given the current heat wave. All of the students voted that they “loved it!”

The school year may be coming to a close, but we’re just getting started implementing wellness programs at School 8, and look forward to continuing this work over the summer.


About the Grantee

United Way of Passaic County

The United Way of Passaic County works to improve the lives of people in Passaic County by mobilizing the caring power of our community. Our goal is to promote healthy nutrition and a food environment within which all County residents can have access to healthy foods and live a healthy lifestyle.