Grant received from Tom's of Maine in annual giveaway

A Hockessin based nonprofit that works to teach children about the fundamental impiortance of nutrition has just received a grant from a nationally known company.

Tom’s of Maine has named Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids one of 51 winners of their “50 States for Good” community giving program.

The organization will receive $10,000 to support its Education Cultivation school vegetable gardening program that seeks to teach children the value and importance of a healthy relationship with the food they eat.

Healthy Foods specializes in designing and implementing school vegetable gardening programs that are then integrated into the individual school’s science curriculum.

“We are really excited about all that we will be able to accomplish with the ’50 States for Good’ funding, and are just so grateful,” said Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids founder, Thianda Manzara.  

Thianda said she expects the funding will be used to supplement the costs of the raised gardens at schools who have received grants that don’t fund the entire cost of garden.

“Schools might get a grant for $2,000 but doesn’t cover everything,” she said. “We have relatively low overhead costs, so essentially the money goes to programming allowing us to provide services to the schools.”

The program is developed so that every student from kindergarten through fifth grade gets to experience gardening and food production on a variety of levels.

By growing cool-weather, fast-growing crops, students are able to experience “seed to table” growing each spring and fall.

Over the course of approximately two growing seasons, teachers are trained in Healthy Foods’ garden curriculum and are able to continue the program with support from HFHK for seasons to come.

The organization currently partners with 23 schools throughout the state and is excited to grow and expand its program to impact even more students.

“So many important grassroots organizations bring goodness to communities every day,” said Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom’s of Maine, via press release. “For the first time we’re awarding more than $500,000 in project funding for a nonprofit in every state and the District of Columbia that will go directly towards helping people nationwide and the planet.”

Looking ahead to 2015, Thianda said Health Foods for Healthy Kids is currently working with Mount Pleasant Elementary in Wilmington and several other area schools to implement new gardens and gardening programs at those locations.