REIDSVILLE, Ga. and ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Produce for Kids(R) (PFK), an organization that promotes the benefits of healthy eating and supports worthy causes for children and PBS KIDS(R), which provides content, resources and tools that support the positive development of the whole child – the cognitive, emotional, social and physical, are partnering for a second year to raise awareness among kids, parents and teachers of the role fresh fruits and vegetables play in a healthy diet. As part of PBS KIDS' long term commitment to children's health, the partnership highlights the multi-faceted "Eat Smart for a Great Start" campaign, which focuses on school-based programs this fall and features a nationwide classroom contest; resources and tools for parents and educators; fun games and activities for kids; and a variety of regional events, celebrity appearances and in-school promotions. In-store promotions and local community events generated from the first year of the partnership will also continue throughout the coming year at even more participating grocery stores.

From September 4 through October 31, participating retailers and produce companies will make a monetary donation for every fresh produce item purchased during the campaign. Donated funds will support PBS' efforts to provide educational content, resources and outreach materials to families and educators that promote healthy behaviors among kids. Participating local PBS member stations will also raise awareness of the importance of eating fruits and vegetables through community events, character visits and other activities with participating grocery stores including Giant Food Stores, King Soopers, Meijer, Price Chopper and Publix Super Markets.

Highlighting the need for a concerted educational campaign that promotes healthy eating, a Produce for Kids national study released in May 2008 revealed that only 18 percent of America's children are eating the recommended three or more daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, and 43 percent of kids have one or less daily serving of fresh produce.

"Our fall campaign will make healthy eating a central topic of discussion and learning in classrooms and communities nationwide," said John Shuman, president of Produce for Kids. "Together, PFK, PBS KIDS and our sponsors are delivering engaging, interactive ways for kids to learn healthy eating habits that last a lifetime."

"Encouraging families to eat right and be active is not just a one-time message and PBS KIDS is committed to helping families explore what it means to lead healthy lifestyles," said Loren Mayor, VP Corporate Partnerships, PBS. "As a longtime advocate of supporting a child's total well-being – cognitive, social, emotional and physical – PBS KIDS is thrilled to extend this partnership with Produce for Kids to encourage more nutritional food choices as one of the key ingredients to fostering a healthier generation."

In The Classroom and Online

At the heart of the campaign is a contest for teachers that will seek to identify and reward original, innovative and creative classroom projects that encourage kids to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. The Produce for Kids "Play with Your Produce Healthy Challenge" contest will be accessible through PBS Teachers ( and three grand prize winners will receive:

    -- A class and project profile on the Produce for Kids Web site that        showcases the winners' successes and offers ideas on how other        classrooms can replicate this model;     -- A mini-grant of $500 for school-based nutrition and health promotion        programs - for example, the provision of fruit and vegetable snacks,        salad bars for cafeterias, school garden supplies or nutrition        education curricula and materials; and     -- A PFK classroom party tool-kit featuring party ideas, recipes, taste        testings, favors and gift certificates that can be used to purchase        fresh produce and other nutritious food.  

Every classroom entry will be rewarded with coupons and discounts for fresh produce, lesson plans featuring fun ways to engage children as they learn about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Kids can also extend the fun online at home with health-themed games on On the site, families can explore games that tie into grocery store visits such as Arthur's Supermarket Challenge; play along with Cookie Monster and Grover as they help children learn what it means to "eat colors;" assist Curious George as he juggles his favorite fruits; choose recipes from Maya and Miguel and much more.

For Parents

On PBS Parents (, caregivers can access resources and activities via the "Eating for Health – and for Fun!" page that supports PBS KIDS mission to encourage healthy living among families. New "Supermarket Explorer" activities are available this year to entertain kids while they are at the grocery store with their parents to build a positive relationship with healthy foods as well as develop early learning skills such as reading and math.

In addition, PBS Parents includes resources for caregivers looking for ideas on how to encourage kids, even the pickiest ones, to eat a healthy diet and develop healthy habits from the start. There are also fun activities and healthy kid-friendly recipes.

Celebrity appearances and regional promotions

A star attraction of the "Eat Smart for a Great Start" campaign will be Miss Rosa, the popular PBS KIDS preschool destination host who guides children through curriculum-based activities each morning while introducing Spanish words and phrases related to the theme of the day. From September 9-11, Miss Rosa will sign autographs and talk about the benefits of eating fresh produce at local elementary schools and Publix stores in Orlando and Windermere, Florida.

Publix and PFK have also partnered with SNaCC (School Nutrition Communications Campaign) and Orange County Public Schools to build nutritional awareness with a program comprised of free tastings in school cafeterias, lunchtime menus prepared by local chefs, and giveaways featuring coupons for fresh produce items, activity sheets and a newsletter for parents.

Another highlight of the campaign is Produce for Kids' presence, in partnership with Meijer, at the Belle Isle Grand Prix in Detroit this past Labor Day Weekend. PFK promoted healthy eating and provided race goers with sponsor coupons, activity sheets and other fun PFK and PBS KIDS items, while kids met many of their favorite PBS KIDS characters including Dot and Dash.

Produce for Kids will also be extending educational outreach to the local Allentown, Pa. area elementary schools with the Lunchbagz(R) program, a unique, grassroots, marketing method that strategically targets children in their primary social networking environment-the school cafeteria. A total of 25,000 fun and educational Lunchbagz(R) with PFK games and activities will be distributed to the schools the week of 9/15. King Soopers will also implement the Lunchbagz program with their partner elementary schools in the Colorado Springs area. Price Chopper will incorporate Produce for Kids into their "Luvin' Lunchbox" Program, a program in which the Eastern-based supermarket chain identifies foods that consumers can use in packing children's lunch boxes.

About Produce for Kids

Produce for Kids(R) promotes healthy lifestyles for children by educating kids and parents about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables while also supporting worthy children's causes. Since its creation in 2002 by Shuman Produce Inc., Produce for Kids has raised more than $1.2 million for local Children's Miracle Network hospitals. Produce for Kids also partners with PBS KIDS(R) to educate parents on healthy eating and raise funds for PBS. For additional information on Produce for Kids, visit


In response to the increased number of children facing risks from childhood obesity, PBS KIDS kicked off a children's health initiative to strengthen existing health-related resources and build a cohesive framework for public media to encourage kids and families to make healthier lifestyle choices. The initiative kicked off with the convening of PBS KIDS' Public Media Council on Children's Health in early 2008 and was followed by a virtual summer road trip to health utilizing character role models, resources and content for families and educators. Building long term partnerships with organizations that share a similar mission, such as Produce for Kids, is one of the many examples of PBS KIDS' community-based activities to encourage healthy lifestyles.

PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, are committed to providing the highest quality non-commercial content and learning environment for children across the country. Providing age- appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network. Only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. With additional PBS resources to complement its programming, including PBS KIDS online (, PBS KIDS GO! online (, PBS Parents (, PBS Teachers (, PBS KIDS Raising Readers and literacy events across the country, PBS is providing the tools necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 356 public television stations, serving more than 65 million people each week and reaching 99% of American homes.

SOURCE Produce for Kids