As school let out for the summer at T.C. Gurney Elementary, planning was already underway for big changes to the school’s lunch menu next year. Part of Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools, T.C. Gurney was selected as the first in Ohio to receive a grant from the Life Time Foundation to make over its lunch program.
“The alarming rise in obesity rates is putting the health of an entire generation at stake,” said Life Time Foundation Director of Operations, James McGuire. “While the recent USDA mandates have greatly improved nutrition at our schools, additional change is needed. The Life Time Foundation aims to work collaboratively with forward-thinking, innovative school leaders, such as our new partners at T. C. Gurney Elementary School, to further develop a healthy, delicious and sustainable model that can ultimately be adopted by other schools nationwide.”
Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, T. C. Gurney Elementary School will launch a new, healthier menu with the support of the Life Time Foundation. Through the partnership, the T.C. Gurney lunch program will eliminate all unnatural ingredients currently in school lunches, including high fructose corn syrup, bleached flour, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, trans fats/hydrogenated oils, hormones and antibiotics in beef, and where possible, hormones and antibiotics in other animal products. As healthy, natural alternatives are substituted for unnatural ingredients, the focus remains on ensuring students continue to enjoy the foods they love while leading a healthier way of life.
The Life Time Foundation grant will cover the cost difference between the school’s current food budget and that required of the new menu. Additionally, the Foundation will collaborate with school staff and parents to help kids improve their health through exercise and improved diets at home.Robert Hunt, Superintendent of the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools says, “As educators we are entrusted with our community’s children for more than six hours a day, five days a week, 36 weeks a year. With this privilege, I believe it is imperative we recognize the importance that the combination of nutrition and physical activity has on each child’s well being. We are excited to partner with the Life Time Foundation and help our students learn about – and enjoy – healthier food choices and an active lifestyle that can help them lead long, healthy lives.”