HHC, Compass Organize Snacks for Student Athletes | Hartford HealthCare

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January 18, 2024

It’s a long time between lunch and dinner, especially for student athletes with games or practice after school.

To help those at Harding High School in Bridgeport – some of whom have been accosted going to a nearby store for snacks – Hartford HealthCare and its food service partner Compass One Healthcare (Compass One) will supply free afterschool snacks.

The arrangement – borne of a random conversation between Bill Jennings, Hartford HealthCare Fairfield Region president, and Vernon Thompson, principal of Harding, when both were volunteering for the non-profit Food Rescue US-Fairfield County one Sunday – will include weekly donations of bottled water, pretzels and granola bars for 100 students a day, or 500 students a week.

The nutritious items will be made available afterschool each day to athletes on all the school’s sports teams to help them perform at their best.

“These are hard-working kids who love their sports. We want to be sure they have the best chance for success. This alliance with Hartford HealthCare and Compass will help our kids stay healthy and safe,” Johnson said.

Approximately 150-200 Harding students play sports over the three seasons, he added.

“These student athletes need fuel to get through practices and games after school,” Jennings said. “When Vernon mentioned he worried his student athletes might be targets of crime when buying snacks before practice at nearby stores, I knew we could help.”

He immediately called Compass One and brainstormed with Michael Taylor, director of food and nutrition services at St. Vincent’s.

“This program is an example of how creating easier access to nutritious foods can benefit kids and help build stronger communities,” said Compass One Division President Glenn Robinson. “We believe that food is medicine and providing these students with healthy and enjoyable snack options will support their success as athletes, students and members of their community.”

Compass One makes weekly afterschool snack donations to give Harding student athletes the critical nutritional support they need to play and learn.

“We are very thankful for our partnership with Hartford HealthCare, which is supporting consistent nutrition among our student athletes. This nutrition not only impacts athletic performance, but also academic performance,” said Supt. of Public Schools Carmela M. Levy-David. “Research shows that students perform better, are able to attend longer and retain their learning when their nutritional needs are met. We look forward to our continued partnership with our extended family at Hartford HealthCare.”

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