You, our customers, are simply outstanding. You have totally shattered our goal of putting 300 salad bars into public schools across the U.S. As of September 6th, you've donated over $921,000 -- that's about 368 salad bars! We'll be collecting donations through the end of September, so keep 'em coming. The more we raise, the more local schools will be able to have salad bars.And if you missed our earlier post about how schools are selected to receive a salad bar, here's an encore of that info.Our partners, Chef Ann Cooper's Food, Family, Farming Foundation (F3) are conducting a grant process where schools apply for one of these free salad bars. Now don't get worried when you hear the word "grant." They have made sure it is very simple. The whole point of the formal grant is to make sure that the schools receiving the salad bars have the support they need to make good use of them.
Your role is to help us get the word out about the grants. Any public school — elementary, middle, junior or high — within a 50-mile radius of a Whole Foods Market store is eligible to apply. F3 will be accepting grant applications from September 1st through November 15th. Schools selected by F3 will be announced by January 15, 2011 and salad bar kits will be shipped to schools within a month.Any parent, teacher, food service worker or other concerned person can make sure that eligible schools are aware of The Salad Bar Project. In fact, we know that parents and teachers are often the drivers of making great new things like this happen for their schools. We're depending on you to help get the word out about the grants so a school administrator can complete the online grant application.The grant money, raised by customer donations, will be used to buy the physical salad bar. Each school that is chosen will receive a portable, five-well Cambro salad bar complete with utensils, pan inserts, chilling pads and training tools. Chef Ann's The Lunch Box will provide the necessary training tools and ongoing support to help ensure proper management. The food on these salad bars will be provided through the schools current buying channels for procuring food.A few customers have asked about the 50-mile radius requirement. Within 50 miles of any of our stores, you will find a range of schools in neighborhoods of varying economic levels. We absolutely believe that all kids deserve healthy lunches, regardless of their economic background or geographic location. That why it's exciting that The Salad Bar Project is designed to keep growing and expanding to many more schools over time. We are jumpstarting the process with the help of our customers. Our team members and customers let us know that, in addition to fundraising for community schools, they also want to participate and volunteer in these schools to help make a difference. The 50-mile parameter was established as a way to fulfill the desire of our team members and customers to make a difference locally — and we look forward to the expansion of the program in all areas of the country.More than 31 million children rely on the National School Lunch Program every school day. For many of these kids, school lunch is their only complete meal of the day. Let's make sure that salad bar choices are part of that meal!Learn more in our salad bar FAQ, encourage your local school to visit The Salad Bar Project to apply for a grant, and continue to donate to the cause at the registers or online. Thanks for your support!