Nourishment for body and soul at Brattleboro housing complex

Children at Moore Court in Brattleboro get a real feel for how much sugar the average American consumes in sugary drinks alone in a year by hefting 5 lb. bags of sugar. The average is 34 lb. Tina Zuk, right, the government relations director for the American Heart Association in Vermont, talked to the children and families about healthy nutrition, and served a healthy meal, during a regular session of “Art in the Neighborhood” at the housing complex.

Children at Moore Court, a low-income housing complex near Green Street School in Brattleboro, have been exploring food in art as part of their regular “Art in the Neighborhood” project.

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.,  at Moore Court, the American Heart Association treated the children and residents of Moore Court to a healthy meal as part of their Art in the Neighborhood gathering. The children worked on art projects before the meal is served, beginning at 3 p.m.

“Art in the Neighborhood has been providing free art classes to children in low-income housing communities in Brattleboro since 2008,” said Rep. Mollie S. Burke, P/D-Brattleboro, and founder of “Art in the Neighborhood.” “At Moore Court, one of our sites, we are working to foster community health, engagement, and cohesion, expanding the mission of the program beyond the doors of the art room. Last fall we hosted a community supper where students helped to make a meal for their families. For this American Heart Association Healthy Meals event, the students have been examining food colors and drawing vegetables. This helps them see connections between nutrition and art; nourishment for both body and soul.”

The American Heart Association is committed to improving nutrition for children, with a focus on kids restaurant meals, and educating families about options to sugary beverages. Nearly one-third of Vermont’s youth are overweight, increasing their chances of suffering from chronic illnesses later in life. The Association is working on legislation in Montpelier to change that statistic, and make the healthy choice the easy choice for Vermont families.

“Vermonters’ lives are busy, and more and more, families are grabbing a meal on the run or eating out.  But, children consume roughly 25% of their calories from eating out, and eat almost twice as many calories at restaurants compared to a typical meal at home,” said Tina Zuk, government relations director for the American Heart Association in the state of Vermont. “We also know that for each additional serving of soda or sweetened juice drink a child consumes per day, the child’s chance of becoming overweight increases by a whopping 60 percent. With nearly a third of Vermont’s youth overweight or obese we need to take action.

“This event shows families that sugar and fat-filled kids’ meals at restaurants don’t need to be the norm. We’re serving up butternut squash mac and cheese and apple cider glazed grilled chicken to show families that healthy can be delicious and easy. And kids get to take home our water bottle to reuse regularly instead of drinking sugary drinks.” 

“We greatly appreciate the American Heart Association’s lunch at Moore Court. It is another excellent opportunity for our residents to experience healthy food that is easy to prepare and cost effective. We hope it will encourage our families to make healthy food choices,” said Christine Hart, executive director of the Brattleboro Housing Partnership.

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