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by intern Christine Binder

On Friday, May 7th, Congressional Representative Michael Arcuri stood in the lunch line and thanked the school lunch ladies for his meal along with the 5th grade classes at the Martin Luther King Elementary School in Utica, NY.

Last month, Debra Richardson, co-chair of Slow Food Mohawk Valley, spoke to students at the school about fruits and vegetables and led them in a letter writing activity in support of the Time for Lunch Campaign to help school serve healthier food. They wrote to Representative Arcuri on paper plates, asking for “healthy fresh food” full of “nutrients and vitamins” to “help make them strong.”

Representative Arcuri’s visit was in response to these letters. While at MLK Elementary, he sat down in the cafeteria to talk and eat lunch with the students, which included a healthy, locally-made butternut squash cookie. The Congressman was also shown the recently donated refrigerator that houses a daily delivery of fresh fruits or vegetables to serve as a snack through a grant from the Department of Defense.

According to Richardson, “that donation shows how a community can, in part, address its own needs. Now what we need from our Congressional representatives is their attention on the upcoming legislative actions and to fully fund the Child Nutrition Act. That can make a real difference on their end.”