Mayor Bowser and Born This Way Foundation Join Students, Families, and Volunteers at Hendley Elementary’s Joyful Food Market
(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Born This Way Foundation Co-founder and President Cynthia Germanotta, and Born This Way Foundation Executive Director Maya Enista Smith joined Martha’s Table at the Joyful Food Markets program at Hendley Elementary School to assist with loading and distributing bags of groceries for students and families.
“We know how important it is for our young people – actually, people of every age – to be able to access the care and resources they need to live happy, healthy lives,” said Mayor Bowser. “That’s why we are so grateful for organizations like Martha’s Table and Born This Way Foundation. Both of these organizations are tremendous examples of how we can all play a role in uplifting our communities and, in the words of the foundation – build a kinder, braver world.”
Throughout the year, the Joyful Food Markets program hosts pop-up grocery stores at elementary schools and other locations to bring healthy, non-perishable groceries and fresh produce to families in Wards 7 and 8. Martha’s Table launched the program in 2015, in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, to increase access to and encourage consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables east of the Anacostia River. The markets are set up to be community events where families and children can mingle with volunteers and school administrators while selecting from fresh, seasonal produce and healthy pantry staples. Each student receives approximately 23 pounds of groceries at no cost. In addition, the markets feature activities to get children excited about healthy eating and cooking, including cooking activities with recipe samples and chef-led culinary demonstrations.
“We’re honored to host Mayor Muriel Bowser and Born This Way Foundation at today’s market,” says Patty Stonesifer, President and CEO of Martha’s Table. “We know that hunger and food insecurity persist in the District, and in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, our goal is to increase access to and knowledge of healthy and nutritious foods in a joyful way. We look forward to deepening our impact and continuing to stand with the children and families at Hendley Elementary School and at all 39 of our Joyful Food Markets.”
Born This Way Foundation was launched by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta in 2012 with the goal of creating a kinder and braver world. The foundation works to connect young people to the services they need to thrive and provide them with opportunities, resources, and platforms to have their voices heard. Earlier this month, Born This Way Foundation and education nonprofit DonorsChoose.org launched the Mental and Emotional Wellness Challenge, an initiative to promote mental and emotional wellness in public schools across the United States. The challenge will match donations to teacher- and student-created projects that demonstrate the importance of mental health, decrease stigma around the issue, and teach students practical skills to support their mental and emotional wellness.
“Born This Way Foundation is thrilled to shine a light on the work of exceptional local organizations like Martha’s Table that are supporting the wellness of young people. We share a mission to inspire and empower today’s youth and the resources and services like those provided by Martha’s Table are critical to that goal,” said Cynthia Germanotta, Co-Founder and President of Born This Way Foundation.
In her fiscal year 2018 budget, the Mayor invested $1 million in the Joyful Food Markets program. The program is one example of how the Bowser Administration is making investments to support access to healthy food in food insecure areas of Washington, DC. Other programs include: the Produce Prescription program (PRx), the Healthy Corners Stores Partnership, Home Delivered Meals, and the Produce Plus Program. Additionally, in October 2017, the Mayor announced the awardees for the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, $3 million in grant funding that will support the creation of new grocery options in Wards 7 and 8.