WRENTHAM — Superintendent Paul Zinni and Healthy KP Substance Use Prevention Coalition Chair Ann Barr are pleased to announce that the Coalition has successfully hosted its second annual Family Meals Campaign, which encourages families to eat meals together.
Throughout the month of September, which is recognized as National Family Meals Month, the Coalition participated in its annual Family Sit-Down Meal Campaign alongside its community partners.
As part of this year’s campaign, the Coalition partnered with 12 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.
A total of 1,450 stickers were distributed to 12 restaurants that partnered with the Coalition for the campaign. They include:
- Aroma Italian Pizza & Roast Beef
- Boulevard Pizza
- Eagle Brook Saloon
- Plainville House of Pizza
- Norfolk Town Pizza
- South Street Pizza
- Novatos Bar & Grill
- James’ Breakfast & More
- Omega Pizza
- Wrentham House of Pizza
- Wrentham Town Pizza
At South Street Pizza in Plainville, sophomore Keira Barr placed 125 “Family Meals Matter” stickers on pizza boxes. Three other students also visited restaurants to place stickers on food containers, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of the restaurants placed the stickers on food containers themselves.
In addition to the restaurant partnerships, the Coalition also partnered with local Big Y grocery stores and numerous churches in the area.
As part of the Big Y partnership, Healthy KP collaborated with Big Y’s Living Well Eating Smart Program’s Registered Dietician Andrea Luttrell to design a joint “Family Meals Matter” sign to be placed in various Big Y prepared food locations in their Franklin and Walpole stores. The partnership was formed to remind customers of the importance, as well as benefits, of establishing frequent, nutritious family sit-down meals.
To assist the campaign, four churches in Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham also placed information about Healthy KP’s Family Meals Campaign on their weekly bulletins. Trinity Church in Wrentham also sent out emails to their congregation informing them of the program. Each church stressed the importance of families sharing regular sit-down meals together as well highlighting all of the benefits both parents and children reap from sharing that time together.
“It was a pleasure of ours to once again host this campaign to promote the importance of families sitting down and having meals with one another, and we thank our community partners for their assistance,” Barr said. “Throughout the campaign, we participate in meaningful dialogue about the importance and benefits of families sharing meals together and as a result we typically see families’ bonds strengthen over the course of the month. We look forward to hopefully continuing to expand upon this campaign in the coming years.”
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.
“The efforts of our Healthy KP Coalition and their community partners continue to help our district connect to the greater Norfolk-Wrentham-Plainville communities to promote health and wellbeing through important initiatives such as this one, and for that, I thank all who were involved,” Superintendent Zinni said. “As research has proven, our students’ home lives have significant impacts on their school performance. Through campaigns like this one, the Coalition is identifying and addressing the needs of our students outside of the classrooms and in turn improving their peers’ performance during school hours.”
About Healthy KP
The Coalition began in October 2018 as a partnership between the King Philip Schools and interested community members. It aims to raise awareness around youth substance use in the Norfolk-Wrentham-Plainville communities while promoting protective factors that support healthy development and reduce the likelihood of negative decisions. The group’s mission is to empower all youths throughout the three communities to live a healthy, substance-free life through youth leadership, education, training, policy and support.
Through local partnerships and collaboration in its first three 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.