Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) and ALDI have partnered to invest in Southern California communities through AFHK's School Grants for Healthy Kids initiative. The ALDI investment of $175,000 will help 15 Southern California area schools to improve their overall wellness environments through grants and technical assistance during the 2015-2016 school year.
Funding supports the establishment or expansion of school health teams; implementation of school wellness programs to drive effective health initiatives utilizing AFHK's Game On program to identify and target areas of need; and engagement of parents, community members and ALDI employees to promote wellness at school and at home. The ALDI-funded program will benefit more than 11,000 students at the selected schools where, on average, 71 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced meals.
ALDI is committed to supporting the communities it serves, and this landmark partnership is the first of many ongoing efforts to support local communities in existing and new markets as the grocery chain continues to grow, say company officials. Since 2011, ALDI has worked with AFHK to help Chicago schools create sustainable changes that foster healthy behaviors. With its expansion to Southern California, ALDI will continue its commitment to help school-aged children receive vital nutrition education and physical activity tools that will empower them to choose healthy behaviors for a lifetime.
"Children spend the most time outside of the home in school, nearly 1,200 hours per year. Evidence shows healthy school environments not only foster healthy eating and physical activity habits among students, but also create a culture where kids are better prepared to focus and learn," says Rob Bisceglie, CEO for Action for Healthy Kids. "We look forward to advancing the wellness of California schools and communities with the help and support of ALDI."
Initiatives are wide ranging across elementary, middle and high schools, and may include refurbishing outdoor play spaces, piloting aeroponic school gardens, implementing farm-to-school programs, hosting physical activity initiatives (before, during and after-school) and nutrition classes for students and parents, and purchasing physical activity equipment. The following schools were awarded based on need and the strength of the proposed school wellness programming:
- San Gorgonio Middle School, Beaumont
- Bennett-Kew Elementary School, Inglewood
- Eastside Academy/Transitional Learning Center, Lancaster
- La Quinta Middle School, La Quinta
- 112th Street Elementary School, Los Angeles
- Glenfeliz Boulevard Elementary School, Los Angeles
- Palm Springs High School, Palm Springs
- Eugene Field Elementary School, Pasadena
- Moore Middle School, Redlands
- J.C. Boyd Elementary School, Rialto
- Loma Vista Middle School, Riverside
- Wells Middle School, Riverside
- Sierra Madre Middle School, Sierra Madre
- Olive Elementary School, Vista
- Inland Leaders Charter School, Yucaipa
"Our partnership with AFHK is an important step for us as we enter the Southern California market this year," says Gordon Nesbit, Moreno Valley division vice president for ALDI. "We know that schools can play a vital role in promoting wellness within their communities, and we are excited to partner with AFHK to help create healthier places for Southern California's children, as well as for our employees and their families."
All ALDI-funded schools will participate in Every Kid Healthy Week, which will take place April 25-29, through events that will spotlight their wellness programs and accomplishments. The ALDI-funded grants are part of nearly $1.7 million in School Grants for Healthy Kids awarded by AFHK nationwide in the 2015-2016 school year.
On March 24, ALDI opened eight of the 45 Southern California locations the grocer plans to open in 2016. The opening of ALDI stores in California marks a significant achievement in the company's five-year strategic plan to open 650 new stores across the nation. By the end of 2018, ALDI expects to operate nearly 2,000 stores, enabling ALDI to offer its fresh, high quality groceries at everyday low prices to more than 45 million customers each month.