Fast-food, junk food in Savannah elementary schools

fast-foodKrispy Kreme school fund raisers. School spirit night with Pizza Hut. Elementary school carts that hawk Snickers to first graders.

All done in the name of raising money for budget-strapped schools.

The school system has the difficult task of fitting school meals into caloric and fat-content guidelines, but also making those meals appeal to kids. All with a limited budget of a little more than $1 per plate.

Yet, individual elementary schools can hold a Little Caesars School Spirit Night fund raiser or sell snacks, no matter how high the fat and caloric content, to raise money.

What’s your take on fast-food partnerships in elementary schools? And school snack carts that sell candy to students? My Sunday newspaper column on the topic has generated a slew of hate mail from folks who see nothing wrong with elementary schools endorsing fast food. “Don’t blame the obesity problem on fast-food” one reader wrote. So getting kids hooked on eating a school-endorsed meal of nuggets and fries at an early age doesn’t have any effect on the obesity problem? Seriously?

There have to be better ways to raise money. St. Andrew’s, a fast-food free school on Wilmington Island, hosted a successful school benefit last year that was the opposite of fast-food fundraiser: a slow foods dinner with local (non-fast food) restaurants to raise money for an outdoor classroom that will be a place for gardening and ecology. The benefit featured foods by Brighter Day Natural Foods Market, Cha Bella, Local 11 Ten, The Sentient Bean and Thrive.

Schools have been successful in reducing or eliminating soft drinks from cafeterias: Can’t they do the same with fast-food?

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