Healthy food pantry opens at Daggett Middle School

Daggett Middle School is breaking new ground in the effort to offer more healthy food options to Fort Worth ISD students and families.

With the help of Blue Zones Project, Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) and Fidelity Investments, Daggett is now offering a healthy food pantry on campus, a first-of-its kind effort for the school district.

The pantry officially opened Nov. 19, with parents, teachers and school officials joining Superintendent Kent Scribner and Bo Soderbergh, executive director of Tarrant Area Food Bank, to celebrate.

The food bank will supply fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy options, and eventually lead nutrition lessons for parents at the school.

“This healthy school pantry serves as a bold new step in combating hunger,” Soderbergh said. “Giving families access to nutritious foods is part of our mission, and we look forward to serving more healthy school pantries in the future.”

Research shows that children do better in school when they are well nourished, Scribner said. “Our goal is to prepare every student for success in college, career and community leadership. We’re excited that the community has come together to give our students and their families healthier choices when it comes to food,” he said.

Blue Zones Project, a community-led well-being improvement initiative, partnered with Fidelity Investments and TAFB to bring the dream of a healthy food pantry to life. Blue Zones Project supports community efforts to address the unique needs of areas in Fort Worth that experience food insecurity and issues of affordability—where people often turn to inexpensive sources of calories, like fast food, because they can’t easily or affordably buy fruits and vegetables.

Daggett principal Monica Garrett said the school has undertaken a major well-being transformation in the past year. With support from Blue Zones Project and Fidelity Investments, the campus has launched a number of efforts to support healthy choices and is now infused with messages that encourage student well-being.

“Making well-being improvement takes a continual effort, and this food pantry is just another element to improve the lives of our students, physically, emotionally and academically,” Garrett said.

“We know that good nutrition and health are associated with academic success, and we want to do everything we can to help to support the whole child,” said Matt Dufrene, vice president of North Texas Healthy Communities Blue Zones Project. “Working within a school like this allows us to reach out and bring healthy options to families that do not have easy access.”

Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth is led by Texas Health Resources and teams with schools, businesses, community leaders and residents to support longer, better lives. More than 90,000 people and 340-plus groups and organizations have worked together to improve well-being.

Fort Worth is the nation’s largest certified Blue Zones Community.

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