Obesity or hunger are two major issues that impact children in parts of South Austin. Nearly 1 in 4 children in Central Texas goes hungry because their family is food insecure. Today a group of those children will tour the Capital Area Food Bank to learn more about the hunger problem and healthier eating habits.
8th grader Jasmine Sosa is all smiles at a summer camp program at Mendez Middle School in South Austin. It’s sponsored by the United Way of Greater Austin. For six weeks of her summer vacation, Jasmine learns about math, science and more importantly food.
Some of the kids Jasmine knows are considered obese and others are going hungry. Both issues can impact their health, causing diabetes or stunting their growth both intellectually and physically. According to the United Way of Greater Austin, the area Mendez Middle School is food insecure. That means the kids here sometimes don’t know when they will have their next meal and healthy options are limited.
Katy Aus with United Way of Greater Austin says, “I see kids going to the store and walk straight up the chip aisle. They go to the donut section and sometimes that's cheaper for them."
"The cheaper foods are the ones that are really poor for your health and that can create a system where you have really bad health problems and that can be generational as well. But the first step to fixing that problem is talking about that," Aus adds.
And this is what the summer program hopes to achieve.
"I think it helps them understand when in greater context, the community they live in and the real challenges people in their own lives and people live in their city," Aus says.
So 40 kids from the summer camp will tour the Capital Area Food Bank and take some nutritional classes. Both agencies hope it will motivate kids to eat healthy so they can have long, happy lives even when food shopping on a tight budget.
The tour and classes will only be a few hours but organizers hope it will have a lasting impression.