Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s effort to provide meal kits to economically disadvantaged families across the United States is expanding to Atlanta and Cleveland. The project is part of Obama’s Netflix children series “Waffles + Mochi” and done in conjunction with Partnership for a Healthier America and Higher Ground Productions, the Obama’s production company.
“It’s no secret that the pandemic has been far tougher on some Americans than others, especially when it comes to health and hunger,” Obama said. “So it couldn’t be more clear that addressing these widening gaps in America means addressing the inequities that persist when it comes to affordable, nutritious food.”
The goal is to provide 1 million meals to needy families as part of the Pass the Love effort. Foodservice company Genuine Foods will source, assemble and ship the meal boxes to participating cities. Each box contains easy, replicable recipes and will create three family meals. All recipes will be inspired by or featured in “Waffles + Mochi” and will support children participating in the cooking process.
In Atlanta and Cleveland, Pass the Love meal kit distributions will take place over four weeks and will be structured to build the capacity of local non-profits. In Atlanta, Partnership for a Healthier America is partnering with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to manage local distributions, and in Cleveland, it is partnering with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Distributions will begin in June.
“Partnership for a Healthier America is honored to be able to serve families through the Pass the Love campaign in Atlanta and Cleveland, as we seek to do our part to transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity,” Partnership for a Healthier America President and CEO Nancy E. Roman said. “Pass the Love is focused on creating access and exposure to affordable meal making for families in economically disadvantaged communities, laying the groundwork for long-term shifts in attitudes and behaviors to benefit health.”
The project leverages the show, its characters and Obama. Through the meal kit distribution program, the organization is targeting communities with the highest levels of childhood poverty.
“Cleveland has historically ranked at or near the top nationally in child poverty, so our schools understand well the need to ensure our students have access to good, nutritious food,” Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in a well-designed, comprehensive program devoted to that purpose.”
Other cities are planned for the future. Walmart and Blue Apron are sponsors of the project.