Fuel Up to Play 60 and Chelan Fresh Collaborate to Help Increase Student Access to Nutritious Food Choices in Schools

CHELAN, Wash. — Fuel Up to Play 60 and Chelan Fresh are increasing student access to more nutritious food choices in schools. Chelan Fresh, one of Washington state’s largest suppliers of apples and pears and the nation’s largest provider of fresh cherries, will provide Fuel Up to Play 60, the nation’s leading in-school wellness program, 6 portable school meal carts to be used in Fuel Up to Play 60 schools in Washington and Texas.

In the United States, more than 13 million students come from food insecure households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basisi, and this year 75% of parents said COVID-19 made them realize how important school meals are to familiesii. The portable school meal carts are an innovative solution generously donated by Chelan Fresh to Fuel Up to Play 60 schools and will reach over 1,800 students, serving an estimated 286,000 meals annually (in addition to an estimated 2.4M meals served as a result of carts provided during Fuel Up to Play 60 and Chelan Fresh’s previous collaborations in the 2018-2019 school year and 2019-2020 school year).

While schools may look differently in every state this year due to the ongoing Pandemic, providing nutritious, portable meal options to students are more important than ever. “30 million students rely on school meals every day,” said Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND, president, National Dairy Council, “and with childhood food insecurity rates rising – access to school meals is more important than ever.” According to Feeding America, the effects of COVID-19 can be felt across the nation as now 1 in 4 children are food insecure compared to 1 in 6 prior to COVID-19. Chelan Fresh and Fuel Up to Play 60 are committed to getting students the nutrition they need, and these school meal carts are a key way to deliver food while keeping them safe and adhering to new school feeding guidelines.

Finding new ways to serve nutritious options in schools (like low-fat and fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) can make a difference in helping provide all students with the nutrition they need to fuel their full potential. The rolling carts from Chelan Fresh will provide easy solutions to school nutrition and meal service teams, allowing them the opportunity to repurpose the carts to deliver meals to classrooms or parking lots for feeding in areas that provide students easy access to nutritious foods. Cooling trays and assets on the portable cart also provide easy serving opportunities reducing the need for ice and other resources needed to keep food cool, as well as help provide easy clean-up for school food service and maintenance staff.

The portable school meal carts will be provided to recipient schools in Washington and Texas in time for the 2020-2021 school year.

This effort marks Chelan Fresh’s support of Fuel Up to Play 60 for the ninth consecutive year, reinforcing the companies’ ongoing commitment to help K-12 schools improve or expand their nutrition and physical activity programs through Fuel Up to Play 60.

“As one of the original supporters of the Fuel Up to Play 60 team, Chelan Fresh has been a leader in the produce industry ensuring kids try and continue to choose nutritious food items at school and at home,” said Mac Riggan, Director of Marketing at Chelan Fresh.

The company began its support of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in 2011, and since that time has provided over $750,000 in funding and in-kind resources to support increasing student’s access across the country to nutritious foods including fruit, vegetables, dairy and whole grains.

“On behalf of National Dairy Council, dairy farmers and the dairy community, we’re thankful to continue our longstanding relationship with Chelan Fresh and their growers, and to have their collaboration in nourishing youth in schools and communities through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program,” said Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND, president, National Dairy Council. “The joint effort from Chelan Fresh and Fuel Up to Play 60 will provide more students across the country with access to nutritious meals in a convenient, on-the-go setting, providing them the nourishment that students need to help fuel greatness.”    

To learn more and keep up with Fuel Up to Play 60 and Chelan Fresh, visit FuelUpToPlay60.com and ChelanFresh.com.

About Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC), which was founded by America’s dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. The program additionally encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As a result of the program, 14 million students are making better food choices and 18 million are more physically active. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association/Foundation, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.

About Chelan Fresh
Chelan Fresh is a fruit marketing company representing over 300 family owned farms who are committed to growing premium apples, pears, cherries and several stone fruit varieties for demanding domestic and international markets.  Our fruit is grown in Central Washington where ample sunshine, gentle mountain slopes, fertile valleys and cool crisp air combine with the waters of the mighty Columbia River for ideal growing conditions.

About National Dairy Council
National Dairy Council® (NDC), the non-profit organization funded by the national dairy checkoff program, is committed to nutrition education and research-based communications. NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier nation, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Established in 1915, NDC comprises a staff of registered dietitians and nutrition research and communications experts across the country. NDC has taken a leadership role in promoting child health and wellness through programs such as Fuel Up to Play 60. Developed by NDC and the National Football League (NFL), Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. For more information, visit www.NationalDairyCouncil.org.

i No Kid Hungry, https://www.nokidhungry.org/who-we-are/hunger-facts.
ii SOS, NKH. The Longest Summer: Childhood Hunger in the Wake of the Coronavirus. July 2020)