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The big crowd at the Century 21 flagship in lower Manhattan last Sunday skewed toward kids when the Food Bank For New York and Super Sprowtz, a nutrition education program featuring superpowered veggie puppets, staged an educational puppet show.

VIPs came to support the cause, among them Shaquille O’Neal, chef Todd English, Selita Ebanks, Darryl Strawberry and Maxwell, as well as several New York politicians including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and New York City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin. Century 21 donated a portion of all sales of children’s department merchandise during the event to the Food Bank For New York.

“As a second generation, family-owned business, our fathers taught us to work hard and always give back to the community,” said Isaac Gindi, co-owner of Century 21 Department Store. “We are happy to provide inspiration and education to children and families to discover the powerful connection between quality of food and quality of life.”

“This is so very important and I’m so relieved that America is finally moving in this direction,” said Todd English. “With all of the diseases we’ve been seeing in recent years — diabetes, cancers and even food allergies, it’s long overdue that we start to pay attention to what’s in our foods and where it’s coming from because ‘we are what we eat.’ And I think it’s especially important to start good habits young with children. What I love about Super Sprowtz is that it adds a fresh and fun cool factor to vegetables that makes it culturally relevant for children and families. They put a whole new spin on healthy food by creating story-driven conversation pieces for families during meals.”

Food Bank For New York provides nutrition education to over 40,000 children, teens and adults in the city’s public schools. “We know that lessons in healthy eating make up a key component in a child’s education,” said Margarette Purvis, president and chief executive officer of the Food Bank For New York.

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