"FOODPLAY" offers serious lessons for local students

By Julia Green
Judy Shiner’s grandson now prefers a bowl of cereal or a piece of fruit to a cookie as a pre-bedtime snack – a change that Shiner credits to his viewing of “FOODPLAY.”
Shiner, who is a part of the Hospital Auxiliary Wellness Committee, was the one who suggested bringing the production to the area after hearing of the positive impact it had on her own grandchildren.
“Her grandchildren had seen ‘FOODPLAY,’ so she kind of planted the seed,” said John Riedl, who serves as chairman of the ongoing community wellness task force that coordinated the Wellness Week activities.
“FOODPLAY,” an Emmy award-winning play about nutrition and health, was performed for area schoolchildren last week, with showings at Roxbury and Margaretville central schools. Students from Andes Central School traveled to Margaretville to view the show, which uses live theater and interactive resources to turn kids on to healthy eating and exercise habits.
“I just think it’s great,” Shiner said before Wednesday’s production, which was performed before students in kindergarten through fifth grade and incorporated juggling, music, magic and audience participation as well as the well-known food pyramid to convey its message. The production is performed by the FoodPlay Productions media organization, which was founded in 1982 and has reached over three million schoolchildren in the United States and has been widely featured in the national media.
The production was sponsored by the Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Auxiliary Wellness Committee through the donations by: Assemblyman Clifford Crouch and Kathleen Mami-Moore; the O’Connor Foundation Youth Grant; Edward Bennett; Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Auxiliary; Belleayre Ski Club; and Molnar Financial.