W&L Veggie Brigades Descend on Rockbridge County Schools
Cole Snyder, a first grader at Mountain View Elementary School, carefully picked out a selection of fruit and vegetables to try. “I’ve got carrot, cucumber, a blueberry and a grape, but I don’t know what that is,” he said, pointing to a yellow pepper. “I’ve never tried it before.”
Snyder was one of the many students selecting fruits and vegetables provided by the Veggie Brigade on March 22 at Mountain View Elementary School. The program is a partnership between Let’s Move Lexington and Bonner Scholars from Washington and Lee University, a leadership development program for students with an interest in service and civic engagement.
The organizers aim to introduce students at four Rockbridge County schools to different fruits and vegetables. The Veggie Brigade has also visited Natural Bridge Elementary School and Fairfield Elementary, with the final event planned for Central Elementary on April 5.
“It’s a lead-up to Rockbridge Fun Day on April 28 at Rockbridge County High School,” explained Ellie Stoops, a Bonner Scholar, adding that the Fun Day is a free community event to celebrate health and healthy lifestyle choices in the community. “There are four or five Bonner Scholars doing the Veggie Brigades, and we’re in a group that focuses on childhood nutrition, so it was a good fit for us. I think the kids really enjoy it and they get to try foods they haven’t tried before.”
For each food item a student selected they were given a bead of corresponding color to create a bracelet.
“The beads are an attempt to get the students more excited about fruits and vegetables,” said Stephanie Furlong, an Americorps VISTA member who volunteers with Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee, one of 17 local agencies supported by the United Way of Rockbridge. “If they eat a cherry tomato they get a red bead, an orange bead for a carrot, a green bead for cucumber and so on. If they eat them all they’ll have a whole rainbow on their bracelet.”
Meanwhile, Snyder sat down to try his selection of food. “Yuck!” to the cucumber. “No way!” to the yellow pepper. But “Good!” to the grape and the blueberry.
“I’m just thrilled,” said his mother Wendy Snyder, who was eating lunch with her son that day. “I’m trying to convince him to eat well and have exposure to fruit and vegetables.”
Further information about Rockbridge Fun Day can be found at http://www.lexingtonva.gov/letsmove.htm