WRENTHAM — Superintendent Paul Zinni, Regional Director of Wellness Dot Pearl and Healthy KP Substance Use Prevention Coalition Co-Chairs Assistant Principal Kip Lewis and Ann Barr, are pleased to share that the Coalition has coordinated a Family Meals Campaign to encourage families to eat meals together.
The Coalition aims to raise awareness around youth substance use in the three KP communities while promoting protective factors that support healthy development and reduce the likelihood of negative decisions. The group’s mission is to empower the KP community to live a healthy, substance free life through youth leadership, education, training, policy and support.
The Coalition recently launched a Family Sit-Down Meal Campaign as part of National Family Meals Month, which is recognized each year in September. The group partnered with local restaurants and provided “Family Meals Matter” stickers to adhere to takeout containers at each restaurant. The sticker is a visual reminder to families of the importance of strengthening family connections through sit-down family meals.
“Research supports the benefits of regular family time, so we hope that launching this campaign as part of Family Meals Month will encourage families to make meal time a priority as a way to regularly spend time together,” KPHS Assistant Principal Lewis said.
Research shows that families who regularly dine together reap many health, social and emotional benefits such as enhancing behaviors that parents want for their children. These positive behaviors can include higher academic performance, resilience and positive self-esteem. Additionally, family meals shared together are linked to lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders and depression.
A total of 1,250 stickers were distributed to 15 restaurants that partnered with the Coalition for the campaign. They include:
- Aroma Italian Pizza & Roast Beef, Norfolk
- Eagle Brook Saloon, Norfolk
- Norfolk Town Pizza, Norfolk
- Novatos Bar & Grill, Norfolk
- Chieftain Pub & Restaurant, Plainville
- Fitzy’s Pub & Family Dining, Plainville
- Plainville House of Pizza, Plainville
- South Street Pizza, Plainville
- James’ Breakfast & More, Wrentham
- Nicky’s Restaurant, Wrentham
- Omega Pizza, Wrentham
- Parker’s Pub, Wrentham
- Red Rooster Bar & Grill, Wrentham
- Town Pizza, Wrentham
- Wrentham House of Pizza, Wrentham
“The 15 restaurants who participated were highly receptive to the campaign and we are grateful for their excitement and willingness to partner on this important initiative,” Barr said. “Many of the restaurant staff members we talked to were current and former KP students as well, so it was great to see such an enthusiastic response.”
King Philip senior Patrick Ahern and junior Rachel Anderson helped place stickers on boxes at Eagle Brook Saloon and senior Olivia Kulesza placed stickers on boxes at South Street Pizza in Plainville over the weekend. All three students are Coalition members.
The Coalition began in October 2019 as a partnership between the King Philip Schools and interested community members. Through local partnerships and collaboration in its first two years, the group accomplished a sticker shock campaign during prom season that reminded parents not to provide alcohol to their children along with the legal penalties associated with the Massachusetts Social Host Law. The group also hosted a speaker event on substance use and strategies to support youth, and a Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit to demonstrate the various ways that youth may hide substances and paraphernalia in their bedrooms.