Parsons and Devitt began by gathering together other parents concerned about the issue. After discovering a listserv of about 100 parents discussing this topic, they were then permitted to assume leadership of the forum. They realized that if they wanted to make a significant impact they would need a structure with staying power. They began by word of mouth and using school listservs to build up their member numbers in schools. RFK - M consciously chose not to petition in the beginning, in order to get enough support to “make a splash.”
A large RFK-M campaign last June included a request for better access to water in schools. Their idea was to put a reusable water bottle on every child’s supply list, with cups as backup in cafeterias, allowing children a healthier drinking option that could be easily refilled and accessed throughout the day. This goal was partially achieved, as elementary school children are now offered free bottled water. Parsons noted that while children now have access to water, their organization feels that this is not the most environmentally sound solution and not what the organization had set out to accomplish.
Parsons is using this most recent legislative session as a learning opportunity. She believes that many parents across the state would love to see these changes, and more, made in public schools; their organization just needs to build up its advocacy base. For more information about Real Food for Kids - Montgomery, visit their website: http://www.realfoodforkidsmontgomery.org/.
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