Reporter's Notebook

Fundraising for a Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver gets help from Chipotle and other friends in Los Angeles

In the battle against childhood obesity, no chef has been more willing to jump on the soapbox to call for change — preferably in front of a TV camera — than Jamie Oliver.

Shocked (according to press materials) by the estimate that 42 percent of Los Angeles schoolchildren are overweight or obese, Oliver, part TV chef and part social activist, has been needling the Los Angeles Unified School system to change its lunch program. Now he has enlisted chefs across the city, as well as Chipotle Mexican Grill, to raise money for his “Food Revolution” efforts, which aim to steer children away from processed junk to meals based on fresh, whole ingredients.

About 100 restaurants across Los Angeles have agreed to distribute informational postcards asking guests to join the revolution and donate $5 by texting “JAMIE” to 20222.

Chipotle has agreed to place the postcards in more than 50,000 to-go bags throughout L.A.-area locations in August. Those Chipotle units are also offering a free kids meal with the purchase of a burrito, salad, burrito bowl or tacos every Monday in August, with proceeds benefiting Oliver’s efforts.

Now, before you start wondering whether it's hypocrisy for a burrito-slinger like Chipotle to give kids free meals to fight obesity, remember that Chipotle takes great pains to use better-for-you-and-planet ingredients. And Chipotle’s kids’ meal items are lower in calories and fat than you might think. Check it out.

It’s not the first time Chipotle and Oliver have joined forces. Last year Chipotle raised $1 million for the Food Revolution with a Halloween fundraiser event called the “Boorito,” in which guests were invited to dress up as the most scary processed foods.

Proceeds will go toward the campaign for improving school lunches, as well as community-based programs that teach kids how to cook and eat better.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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