I was chosen to introduce First Lady Michelle Obama during the Kids State Dinner!

I helped make and serve 1,500 servings of my winning meal, Sunrise Tuscan Chicken, to Athens City School Kids!

033 Exciting news!!  My school system decided to serve  my Kids State Dinner winning meal, Sunrise Tuscan Chicken for school lunch.  They agreed to offer my meal to all of the school kids.  The day before we served it, we all helped prepare it at our Middle School.  We made 1,500 servings and the next day it was sent to all of our 6 schools.  We had many people volunteering to help, and I am so thankful that they helped me.  I got to help serve the meal to my school, and it was so cool to see everyone like it!  The main item that was thrown away was the chocolate milk, and that never happens!  I’m hoping that we will now start having lots of healthy lunches, since our administration  saw how many kids liked it. We added FRESH carrots as another side, and my friends were so happy we didn’t have the mushy cooked carrots! Click here to read about Sunrise Tuscan Chicken being served!http://www.athensohiotoday.com/news/athens-students-served-award-winning-meal/article_78821b06-b648-5988-881e-143338c6497b.html

Cooking Demo with 48 2nd and 3rd Graders making Caprese Salad Pitas!!

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I had so much fun teaching 2nd and 3rd graders how to make an amazing yummy meal, Caprese Salad Pita Wraps!  All of the kids divided into groups and helped wash and cut all of the ingredients, and then we created a buffet and they all got to fill their whole grain pita pockets.  So many kids had never tried some of the ingredients including fresh mozzarella, green onions, fresh basil, and cider vinegar that was used as part of the dressing.  The neatest thing was after they all helped cut everything, they all wanted every single ingredient in their pita during the buffet line!! It was so much fun, and the OU students that I spoke to also came to help as part of the Live Healthy Kids group.  All of the kids got to take home a copy of the recipe, and lots of them have told me that they made the recipe at home with their parents over the weekend.  Thanks to East Elementary for letting me have my cooking demonstrations and introducing kids to fresh healthy meals and veggies!!

I was asked to speak to the COMCorps members, a group of AmeriCorps about my story!!


Abby’s Apples

Abby bounced into the room with a basket full of apples in hand. With the help of her mother, she taped a poster covered in pictures from her recent trip to the front of her presenter’s table and then placed a small sign that said “Abby’s Apples” next to her basket.

Abby, now a local Athens celebrity, recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where she met the President and First Lady, toured the White House and enjoyed a meal prepared by the White House’s top chef. Why? Abby was one of the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge sponsored by Epicurious. Her Sunrise Tuscan Chicken recipe beat out all the other Ohio contestants.

Abby stood in front of 20 COMCorps members, some old and some new, to talk about her experience during their orientation, and to hopefully give them some insight into a 9-year-old’s brain.

The bright and cheerful 9-year-old looked out over the crowd, put a big smile on her face and told us about her amazing experience. She was extremely happy to have met the White House Executive Chef, and she even got to ask him some questions.

Abby created her dish by incorporating her Italian heritage. A lot of her dishes center on pasta and tomatoes because those are some of her favorite things to eat. The COMCorps group was really interested in why Abby liked to eat healthy foods – and how they could take that passion and instill it in other children. Abby’s answer was simple. Why does she like to eat healthy? Fresh vegetables and fruits just taste better, she said. She likes to cook and go with her mom to the Athens Farmers Market to pick out her ingredients. And that is where it all began.

Not only did Abby get to meet the President, tour the White House and enjoy a state dinner, she also left inspired to share her love of healthy eating. She heard about how some other kids who participated in the competition were giving back to their communities, so she came up with her own idea to start Abby’s Apples.

Knowing that food access in Athens County is an issue, Abby set out to change that. She noticed that a lot of kids at the elementary schools get free breakfast and lunch but that there aren’t many healthy options at the school lunches. That’s where she got the idea for her apples.

At her school, East Elementary, she is going to deliver a basket of apples to each teacher to sit on their desk. That way, if a child is hungry and needs an apple, they can grab one from the basket. East Elementary started out this year by having 200 of Abby’s apples spread throughout the classrooms, all ready for the first day of school. Abby hopes to expand this project to other elementary schools in the future.

After enduring a round of questions, Abby finally said goodbye to the COMCorps group – but not until she had become a tiny inspiration for us all. Here is a kid out there helping to feed her community and helping her community continue on the pathway to better health.

Learn more about the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ State Dinner and download the winning recipes cookbook.

~Bekky Hobson

COMCorps member serving with Community Food Initiatives

About Me

photo 3 (3) photo 4 (1)photo (2)     Hi my name is Abby.  I’m 10 years old.  I was chosen as  the State of Ohio winner of the Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids State Dinner!  The dish I made was the Sunrise Tuscan Chicken, and over 1,500 kids submitted recipes. I had to create a dish that followed the my plate guidelines and included fresh vegetables.  Going to the White House was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and has inspired me to help other kids. I met amazing people, including Tanya Steel, the First Lady, and Sam Kaas the White House Chef. Tanya Steel of Epicurious was the whole reason this contest happened.  She is trying hard to help kids be inspired to eat healthier foods at home, and especially at school.  The First Lady was so warm and friendly!  She was amazing to let this contest happen, and to invite us to the White House! She is trying very hard to help all of us have healthier lunches at school.  Sam Kaas was so cool! He gets to cook for the First Family all week long, and he talked about the foods he cooks for them.  He told us an interesting fact, that kids who don’t eat breakfast score 17% lower on test scores.  It is very sad to me that some kids don’t have breakfast to start their day.  He is working with the First Lady and Lets Move to get healthy food options in schools. The First Lady asked us to think about how we would pay it forward, to make a difference.  I thought about what I could do in Athens, Ohio.  I came up with the idea of Apples from Abby.  When Sam said the fact about 17% lower test scores that was amazing to me.  An apple could make a huge difference! Apples From Abby started on August 26, 2014 with 200 Apples donated to my school.  Gordon Food Service and my parents restaurant, Courtside Pizza are donating 250-300 apples per week! That’s 9,000  APPLES THIS SCHOOL YEAR!! I placed a basket of fresh apples of every teachers desk, and any student is able to grab an apple when they get to school.  I know that kids that have to eat free lunch get embarrassed, but this way anyone who wants a healthy apple when they get to school can have one during the beginning of class. Breakfast is such an important start to the day, and I’m hoping I help everyone have a great start! I think Apples From Abby can make a huge difference to kids. So far, its only the 10th day of school, and we have delivered 700 Apples!  Stay tuned each week to see our Apple count! Abby Click here to read about my trip to the White House!http://www.athensohiotoday.com/news/east-elementary-student-named-ohio-s-healthy-lunchtime-challenge-winner/article_0b81c32c-fd4b-566e-9731-9257347820c5.html

Thank you Tanya Steel for writing about Apples From Abby!!