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Hunger Beat

Child’s choice leaves indelible memory

Last week, I was at the Food Depository’s Healthy Kids Market at Burke Elementary School in the Washington Park neighborhood. Healthy Kids Markets distribute fresh produce and other food items to low-income families after school. I watched as a girl went through the line with on older woman, presumably her grandmother.

Maybe it was the bright purple knit stocking cap. Or the backpack that was so big it threatened to topple her backwards. Or maybe it was her scuffed boots, too big I think, that had red ladybugs all over them. Whatever it was that caught my eye, the image of the young girl with her grandmother has stayed with me. I watched as the girl made her way through the selection at the Healthy Kids Market. I watched as she tried to choose from tomatoes, potatoes, rice and oranges. And I continued to watch as she deliberately and thoughtfully settled on the oranges, and then slowly, carefully placed seven oranges into her nylon bag.

When she was done, she took her grandmother’s hand, carefully cradling the oranges on her other side, walked out of the makeshift market into the school hallway and through the doors and out into the January cold. It was a snapshot of what takes place all over Chicago nearly every day of the year. By offering healthy choices, we provide nourishment—and hope.

Read more about our children’s programs here.

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