HONOR ROLLS

Fueling dragons: Chico fridge fills nutrition needs

Published Saturday, January 26, 2019
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Eating Good

EATING GOOD – Chico Athletic Director Clayton Sanders displays the nutrition fridge at the Chico High School weight room Wednesday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The clank of dumbbells and the spastic roar of heavy metal fill the early morning inside the Chico High School weight room.

Among the flurry of activity, one familiar sound from grumbling bellies is now missing.

On Tuesday, following track and powerlifting workouts, Chico athletes swarmed into their nutrition room to get their fill of chocolate milk, peanut butter, jelly, deli meats and a power bar to-go.

The food, which is donated by Chico residents and parents, doesn’t last long. Chico Athletic Director Clayton Sanders said the athletes go through four gallons of chocolate milk and two loaves of bread a day.

“It goes fast,” Sanders said.

The nutrition area at Chico started in March. It was a push that Sanders had started in his previous head coaching job at Episcopal School of Dallas. He came across a major problem; his players weren’t eating right and they weren’t eating enough.

Sanders said the main culprit at ESD was the amount of students taking medication for attention-deficit disorders. At Chico, his students faced different problems, but still found nutrition to be an issue.

“Sadly enough, I’ve had kids say this is the best meal I’ll get all day and the only meal I get all day,” Sanders said. “We push them so hard. We wanted to make sure they get the proper nutrition. We want to make sure we go above and beyond for these kids because we care about them so much.”

To avoid burnout, he designated a room for nutrition, asking parents and various Chico residents to donate goods to fill the ferocious appetites of the athletes. The nutrition room is off limits to coaches and is 100 percent provided by donations from the community, Sanders said.

For the past 10 months, Chico’s nutrition fridge has remained stocked. In that time, Sanders said he’s seen gains in the weight room, the gridiron and the classroom.

“I can’t stress enough how blessed we are for the good people of Chico for gifting their hard-earned donations to our kids,” Sanders said. “They are truly an integral part of our Dragon family.”

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