Big Apple Challenge yields big results
Student leaders from Harriett Todd Public School in Orillia were eager to help unload a donation of 100 pounds of fresh fruit from HewittFresh.com Wednesday. From left: Andrew Atkins, Samantha Scharf, school principal Marg Moran, Tayla Nesbit, Macey Hamilton, Kyleigh MacInnis, Naomi Sedore, Adam Hewitt and Grayden Hewitt. (PATRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES)
The sweet taste of community enthusiasm is being enjoyed by a number of area elementary schools this month.
Thanks to the Big Apple Challenge, organized by HewittFresh.com, more than 1,000 pounds of fresh fruit will be distributed to 10 schools in Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Severn and Muskoka. As well, another eight schools will receive a bushel of fresh apples thanks to Christina Barber and TD Bank’s West Ridge branch.
“On Facebook, we had a Big Apple Challenge to create awareness about the need for fresh fruits and vegetables in the breakfast programs in our schools,” explained Adam Hewitt, owner of HewittFresh.com. “It was sort of parent-initiated (to) spread the word, and Harriett Todd spread the word the farthest, so they won the challenge.”
In September, community members were asked to share a Facebook post from HewittFresh.com on the Big Apple Challenge with their friends, voting for a school of their choice in the process. The goal was modest: If there were 300 shares, 150 pounds of fruit would be donated to the schools; if there were 1,000 shares, 1,000 pounds would be doled out.
The post generated more than 500 likes, 1,600 comments, 2,200 shares and 133,000 views, more than doubling the goal Hewitt had set for the campaign.
Hewitt was at Harriett Todd Public School Wednesday morning to drop off 100 pounds of apples, bananas and oranges for the school’s snack and breakfast programs. It’s a big help to all of the benefiting schools.
“To learn, you need to be full,” Hewitt said. “To be alert, you need healthy food. It helps them learn and the need is pretty high.”
As popular as the program is, it’s discomforting to know, for many students in Orillia and area schools, the healthy meals through the breakfast program and the available snacks throughout the day are among the more nourishing food they regularly consume.
“At least 25% of our students are accessing that on a daily basis, which is over 100 students,” said Marg Moran, principal at Harriett Todd.
“A lot of times, the more inexpensive snacks are sugar-filled snacks,” she continued. “So, we, for the last couple of years, have really promoted fruit as being available at the office (and) students can drop in and pick it up. It’s very popular with the students, but, obviously, at different times of the year, it’s very costly.”
Alongside Harriett Todd, Lions Oval and Regent Park public schools in Orillia, Warminster and East Oro public schools in Oro-Medonte, Coldwater, Marchmont and Severn Shores public schools in Severn, Port Carling’s Glen Orchard Public School and Gravenhurst’s Muskoka Beechwood Public School also received 100 pounds of fruit.