A program designed to promote better access to nutritious food in more than two dozen Boston schools will be expanding to at least 25 more, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Wednesday.
“All young people in Boston deserve access to fresh and delicious food to make sure they’re healthy and able to do well in school,” Walsh said. “My Way Cafe is a program that promotes students making healthy choices and receiving the nutrition they need to help them focus on their education. I am proud that this public-private partnership is making a big difference in the health and food habits of our students across the city.”
The My Way Cafe program will be able to expand to 25 to 30 more schools in Dorchester and South Boston because of $7.9 million in funding in the mayor’s 2020-2024 capital budget, the mayor’s office said in a statement.
My Way Cafe started in 2017 as a pilot program in four East Boston schools and later expanded to 29 schools in East Boston, Roxbury, and Mattapan, the Globe reported. The neighborhoods were chosen based on data that showed parts of the city with the greatest need for better access to nutritious food, the mayor’s office said.
The program, launched and operated with the Shah Family Foundation, gives students food choices and allows for the food to better reflect cultural and nutritional needs, the mayor’s office said.
“So many of our students rely on school lunch as their only well-rounded meal of the day,” BPS Interim Superintendent Laura Perille said. “It’s crucial that we are not only providing students the best nutrition possible, but building in healthy eating habits by providing an element of choice.”
Schools receive new kitchens to become My Way Cafes so they can cook and serve food on site, something many of the buildings do not do, the mayor’s office said.
“As we begin to modernize our school buildings across the district, the expansion of My Way Cafe provides us a strong investment in our future,” Boston School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto said. “It’s important that we continue to plan to support our students in all facets of their school experience, which includes taking care of their basic needs.”