By David Fikes, Executive Director, FMI Foundation

yellow brick road

The genius of the Wizard of Oz story lies in its ability to creatively convey a simple, but hard truth about human nature; we frequently go wishing for miracle solutions to our problems, when the answers we seek are already in our possession. Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and even Dorothy already had the heart, the courage, the intelligence, and the ability to return home that they were requesting of a charlatan. In the end, that self-professed good man, but very bad wizard did help solve their problems, but only by helping them realize they already had what they needed.

COVID-19 has thrust us into a new and mysterious land where anxiety about everything is ratcheted up a few notches. The pandemic has made us more anxious about our health, alarms about the economy amplify our work worries, shifts in schooling fan the flames of parental insecurities about whether we are providing our children what they need, and even what were once mundane tasks such as running errands carry an aura of risk and fear. We have many anxious needs; foremost among them, we want to keep ourselves as healthy as possible and we crave the devoted support and understanding of loved ones to call out the higher angels in our nature and help us rise above our fears and anxieties.

This September, we invite you to join with the FMI Foundation in urging your customers and everyone in our nation to “Stay Strong with Family Meals.” It is something of a Wizard of Oz message, reminding us all that in the ordinary miracle of the family meal we possess that which we need to eat healthy and function more beneficially as a family. FMI Foundation funded research published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior provides definitive proof of the value of family meals. Science has shown that frequent family meals are associated with better dietary outcomes because they increase fruit and vegetable intake AND they strengthen family cohesion, communication and problem-solving.

We are all seeking to maintain patience as we wait on an effective vaccination to COVID-19 to be developed, tested, produced and made publicly available. While we wait, there are solutions to our most desperate needs that we already possess. The miraculous family meal works its magic multiple times each day, offering us doses of nutrition necessary to fuel healthy bodies and providing us mini-boosters of support, encouragement and love. All necessary to triumph over the fears of our times.

To learn more about the many ways you and your company can be involved in helping our nation stay strong with family meals, go to the National Family Meals Month website for inspiration and activation ideas.