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‘Dirty Jobs’ man Mike Rowe celebrates Food4Kids founder Isidro Rodriguez, of Woodsville, for an episode of his new show, ‘Returning the Favor’

Remember when the Valley News wrote about Isidro Rodriguez, the founder of a food equality initiative called Food4Kids?

Here’s a little snippet to jog your memory:

The goal of Food4Kids is to ensure that children have equal access to lunch and snacks, regardless of ability to pay. Initially, at least, this would augment existing free and reduced lunch programs in public schools in New Hampshire and Vermont.

 

Beginning in December Rodriguez raised more than $4,300 through a raffle and donations from small businesses and individuals, which was enough to clear the school lunch debts at the eight public schools in SAU 23, which comprises the towns of Haverhill, Piermont, Warren and Bath, said Carol Smith, an administrative assistant to SAU 23 Superintendent Laurie Melanson. (Keep reading here.)

Welp, Isidro was hanging with the stars a couple months — or one star, at least! Mike Rowe, who is known as the host of the TV show Dirty Jobs, has a new show that you can watch on Facebook, Returning the Favor.

Courtesy Isidro Rodriguez.

 

Courtesy Isidro Rodriguez.

Courtesy Isidro Rodriguez.

Courtesy Isidro Rodriguez.

And the best part is that it was all a surprise to Isidro!

He told us about it when the recording happened this past spring, but we’re letting you know now that the episode has been released on Facebook.

“A film crew that I thought were just filming a documentary were actually filming an episode of Returning the Favor, whose host is none other then the dirty job man himself, Mike Rowe,” Isidro told us in May. “It was crazy — drones, food trucks, activities, they put on a FOOD4KIDS fun run and a community fair! … Things like this don’t happen in Woodsville, N.H.!”

Pretty neat! You can watch it below. I won’t spoil anything, but keep an eye out for your Upper Valley neighbors, town leaders, businesses, nonprofits and a really happy ending.

RELATED: ‘Lunch Equality’ Is the Goal for Haverhill Resident

NHPR: Upper Valley man wipes out lunch debt at Haverhill-area schools

From NHPR:

For Isidro Rodriguez, it started in 2009, when he was working in the Woodsville Elementary school cafeteria and saw what happened to kids with lunch debt. The student would take a tray of hot food…

 

“And then upon checking out, they’ll give their numbers, or enter their numbers into the system. If there’s a negative balance, most of the time they take that lunch back,” Rodriguez says.

 

Rodriguez says the policy was to throw out that hot lunch and give the student an alternative meal. At Woodsville Elementary, that meant a sandwich made with sunbutter, which is like peanut butter but made with sunflower seeds.

Read more here.