November 8, 2019 | Flint Now
Tom Gores’ FlintNOW and the National Basketball Players Association Expand Healthy Food Program in Flint, Provide $325,000 in Fruits and Vegetables Through Pediatric Public Health Initiative
FLINT, Mich. – November 8, 2019 – Tom Gores’ FlintNOW initiative and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) today announced they will distribute $325,000 worth of gift certificates for fruits and vegetables to Flint youth and their families through an expanded partnership with the Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative (PPHI).
Starting this week, 13,000 booklets will be distributed to all school going children in the city of Flint. Each booklet contains five $5 gift certificates redeemable for fruits and vegetables at the Flint Farmers’ Market. The distribution marks the third installment of the program, now called “Flint Kids Eat Fresh Food,” and is expanding to include Flint High Schools for the first time. In aggregate, the program will have distributed $865,000 in gift certificates since 2016.
Funding for the initiative is provided by the NBPA Foundation and by Mr. Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons and a Flint native who created FlintNOW as a private sector initiative to support a broad range of short- and long-term relief efforts. The group also added Flint-based 100K Ideas as a communications and social media partner to help raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating.
Mr. Gores praised the NBPA Foundation and NBA players from around the country for their continued investment in Flint and its children.
“We are expanding the program and bringing more people together because kids in Flint deserve our support more than ever,” said Mr. Gores. “I’m proud of the way the NBA and players throughout the league continue to step up. Healthy food and good nutrition can make a real impact on the day to day lives of children and their families.”
“The continuation and expansion of this program reflects the ongoing commitment of the players who make up the NBPA to the kids and families of Flint,” said Sherrie Deans, Executive Director of the NBPA Foundation. “We are very happy to continue our partnership with FlintNOW and PPHI to spread the word of the importance of fresh food and healthy eating.”
Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital formed the Pediatric Public Health Initiative (PPHI) to address the Flint community’s population-wide lead exposure and help all Flint children grow up healthy and strong. The initiative is led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of the PPHI and associate professor of pediatrics at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
“We have long understood the important role healthy, fresh food plays in children’s physical and emotional well-being, but access and affordability continues to be a challenge,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha said. “This kind of investment will put more healthy food on the table for people who need it. We are grateful to FlintNOW and the NBPA Foundation who continue coming through for Flint kids and their families.”
The Detroit Pistons will help distribute the packets and encourage children and families to redeem the Farmers’ Market gift certificates. Pistons legends as well as the team mascot Hooper and members of the Pistons entertainment teams are expected to help support the program.
Program participants are encouraged to visit the “Flint Kids Eat Fresh Food” Facebook page to learn more about the Flint Farmers’ Market, get access to healthy recipes and complete a survey about the program. Visitors to the page can also enter for a chance to win prizes, including Flint Farmers’ Market gift cards and Detroit Pistons tickets.
Operational support for the booklet distribution is being provided by the Flint Farmers’ Market, the Flint public schools and individual volunteers.
Participating schools include Flint Community Schools, Head Start locations in Flint, and several other schools.