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by Emily Dagostino, Slow Food Chicago volunteer

Wee toddlers scribbling in crayon, kids and teenagers tuned into the trouble with today’s school lunches, and parents advocating for the well-being of their children were among dozens of Windy City denizens who penned letters at a recent event asking Congress for increased funding for school lunches.

“It was great,” says Slow Food Chicago board member Ryan Kimura. “We received about 40 letters, but I felt the impact was stronger than that.” Sara Gasbarra, Green City Market Sprouts Program Chair, agreed: “I think the event was a total success!”

Green City Market and Slow Food Chicago teamed up to sponsor the “Kids Write to Eat” event on February 27 as part of a ramping up of outreach efforts for the Time for Lunch Campaign that began with Slow Food Chicago’s annual meeting in January. Since then, dozens of volunteers have emerged ready and excited to help spread the word. Teachers have approached Green City Market and Slow Food Chicago about bringing the letter-writing campaign back to their classrooms, and volunteers have redoubled efforts to reach out to like-minded organizations in the Chicago area to find new ways to tell our collective story.

In the next week or so, representatives from Slow Food Chicago, Green City Market and Common Threads plan to hand-deliver the kids’ (and parents’) letters to the Chicago office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill. They hope to use the meeting to discuss with the senator’s staff why childhood nutrition and healthy lunches are a priority and to request the senator’s support.

In the letters, 6-year-old Alyssa, 7-year-old Quinton and 13-year-old Taisha asked Congress to “please serve healthy food” in their schools. Not only would it help them concentrate but it “gets you going at recess,” Quinton wrote.