Big Ap­ple Chal­lenge yields big re­sults

Packet & Times (Orillia) - - FRONT PAGE - PA­TRICK BALES

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.

PA­TRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

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 Ak­tins, Sa­man­tha Scharf, school prin­ci­pal Marg Mo­ran, Tayla Nes­bit, Macey Hamil­ton, Kyleigh MacInnis, Naomi Se­dore, Adam He­witt and Gray­den He­witt.

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