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Natural and organic food retailer Earth Fare has launched the Friends of Earth Fare Foundation, a nonprofit, charitable organization that aims to provide children across the Southeast and Midwest with access to healthy food choices and activity via partnerships with local nonprofits, schools and community initiatives.
Over the past six months, Friends of Earth Fare has awarded more than $50,000 in grants to such organizations as Aspire, Youth and Family Inc. in Clyde, N.C., to support the “Kids at Work!” after-school cooking program teaching healthy eating habits and kitchen skills; the Rotary Foundation of Johnson City, Tenn., to help support the construction of its Boundless public playground project; So Dance Scholarship Fund in Asheville, N.C., to enable more than 20 local at-risk kids to learn classical dance; and Murray Lassaine Elementary School in James Island, S.C., to aid the “Seedlings – Farm to Table for Kids” program and school garden that teaches students the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Earth Fare’s fight against childhood obesity began in earnest four years ago with the introduction of Family Dinner Night, where as many as six kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal costing $5 or more at any of the chain’s stores. Since the advent of the program, the Fletcher, N.C.-based grocer has fed more than 500,000 kids free all-natural meals.
Organizations that provide kids with education or access to healthy food options can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to support their local initiatives. Criteria for applying and applications are available online.
On April 13, to celebrate the launch of the foundation, Earth Fare will host the Friends of Earth Fare 5K and Fun Run at Riverlink’s Sculpture Park in Asheville, N.C. Early registration for the race, which is open to all ages, is $20 per adult and $5 for kids. All proceeds will benefit Friends of Earth Fare.
Earth Fare, one of the largest natural and organic food retailers in the United States, operates 29 stores across the Southeast and Midwest.