St. Mary’s receives Champions for Healthy Kids grant from the General Mills Foundation

$20,000 grant will support St. Mary’s Farm-to-Table and Fitness programs, which promote healthy eating and physical activity

The General Mills Foundation, in partnership with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation has named St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children one of fifty awardees nationwide of a $20,000 Champions for Healthy Kids grant. The grant will be used to sustain and enhance St. Mary’s new Farm-to-Table program, as well as fitness-based recreation activities. Launched in January 2014, the program promotes nutrition education through hands-on gardening and interactive cooking classes each week at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, located in Bayside. St. Mary’s also provides a variety of fitness-based activities, including its annual Summer Olympics, which provides children with medical complexity an opportunity to be active and healthy in a fun, camp-like setting.

The General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids provides grants to nonprofits, schools and community organizations to develop creative ways to help children incorporate physical fitness and good nutrition into their daily lives. Since its inception in 2002, the Foundation has distributed more than $5 million in grants.

“St. Mary’s is honored to be one of the fifty recipients of this generous and highly competitive grant.” said Doreen Sikoscow, Manager of Clinical Nutrition at St. Mary’s. “This program has already proven to be a vital addition to our child life and nutrition programs, and has improved the daily life for our residents by ensuring that their families are better prepared to help them adhere to healthier eating habits at home.”

The Farm-to-Table program was originally launched with a generous grant from the J.E and Z.B Butler Foundation and is designed to teach the young patients at St. Mary how to become healthy eaters for life. Staff members from various departments at St. Mary’s including Therapeutic Activities, Nutrition, Pediatric Day Healthcare, Rehabilitation, and Food Services learn to follow nutritious menus, and conduct cooking exercises based on the children’s abilities, dietary restrictions, age, and rehabilitative needs.