Nearly nine out of 10 U.S. schools report lacking at least one piece of kitchen equipment needed to serve healthy food to students.
A $35 million grant from dairy farmers through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and USDA will begin to fix that. Dairy farmers are providing $5 million. More than 30 million kids, or three out of every five, rely on school lunch and/or breakfast for daily sustenance.
“These grants will go far in helping thousands of schools that face a daily reality that students often arrive hungry, which impacts their ability to learn,” said Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and chairman of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff. “This partnership between Fuel Up to Play 60 and USDA really helps create meaningful changes in the lives of children by making it easier to offer healthy school meals.”
Caption: From left, Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and chairman of Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, andTom Gallagher, DMI CEO, share a milk toast to the $35 million grant made to schools for new kitchen equipment.
“Success at all ages begins with a healthy meal, and that is why at USDA we have worked to overhaul school meal standards to ensure kids have access to nutritious foods,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “This commitment from our partners will ensure schools have the equipment they need to provide kids with a well-balanced meal, promoting childhood health and wellness.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 program, begun in 2008, encourages students to eat healthy and be physically active for at least 60 minutes each day. Some 73,000 schools in the United States now participate, with 13 million kids making better food choices and 16 million getting more exercise.
All totaled, USDA has provided $215 million since 2009 for school nutrition grants. Fuel Up to Play 60 has provided more than $22 million.
For more on Fuel Up to Play 60, click here.