In an affluent community like Mason, many kids spend after-school hours and weekends at dance classes or swim practice.
But such luxuries are an impossibility for a growing number of Mason families, who struggle to pay the bills and can’t afford these extras.
Now, thanks to a $20,000 grant from General Mills, the Mason Food Pantry is hoping to bridge that gap while emphasizing the importance of fitness and nutrition to children in need.
The pantry is one of 25 groups nationally to receive a grant through General Mills’ sales community grant program. Three other local organizations also received grants, including Girls on the Run of Greater Cincinnati, Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses and Life Pantry in Loveland.
Local General Mills sales offices nominate nonprofit organizations that work to alleviate hunger or advance nutrition wellness in their communities, said Tiffani Tekulve, an account manager at GM’s Mason sales office.
The Mason Food Pantry’s new program, Health Over Performance Fit Kids program, meets both of those goals, she said.
The program, which the pantry plans to roll out in the New Year, focuses on fitness assessment, professional development and recognition, said pantry director Gina Brown.
The goal is to minimize comparisons between kids while supporting them as they pursue personal fitness goals for lifelong health, she said.