SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Ensuring that students are getting healthy meals while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic is a priority, and American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is aggressively working toward that goal on behalf of local dairy farmers.
“With more than three million students in our region relying on nutritious school meals that include milk and dairy products, it’s absolutely critical that they still have access to the food they need during this challenging time,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “Our school programs are a proven example of our commitment on behalf of dairy farmers to helping keep young people healthy and nourished.”
ADA North East is actively compiling and updating a list of school districts that are providing meals across our six-state region. https://www.americandairy.com/news-and-events/dairy-diary/child-nutrition/free-meals-for-kids-during-coronavirus-school-closures.stml. Each district is handing food distribution differently, but in most cases milk and dairy foods are being included as part of the meals.
ADA North East’s youth programs team continues to draw on its established relationships with school nutrition directors to offer support during these challenging times. Together they are troubleshooting issues and developing solutions related to supply and policy within school districts.
To date, ADA North East has provided 220 cooler bags to 23 different school districts in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, and five coolers in Yonkers, N.Y., to help distribute perishable items like milk and dairy products to students. We have also provided the schools with paper and plastic bags for transporting grab and go meals.
In addition, ADA North East is sending weekly e-blasts to 1,800 school districts offering resources to help navigate this unprecedented time in school foodservice. Information includes training webinars, grant opportunities and positive affirmation tips, among others.
Through ADA North East’s with Fuel Up to Play 60 partnership with the National Football League, five of our partner players posted social media messages offering support to school food service staff. They include: Baltimore Ravens’ Sam Koch, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Cameron Heyward, New York Jets’ Kelvin Beachum, Buffalo Bills’ Harrison Phillips, and New York Giants’ Dalvin Tomlinson.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is the youth wellness program in schools that encourages students to eat a healthy diet that includes dairy, while getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. ADA North East utilizes this partnership in its school breakfast efforts to make milk and dairy products available to students.
For more information about ADA North East’s school nutrition efforts, call 315.472.9143.
About American Dairy Association North East
American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is the dairy farmer-funded organization funded by participating dairy farmer’s checkoff investment to build demand and sales for milk and dairy foods throughout the local region. Representing more than 10,000 dairy farm families in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia, ADA North East develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organization also conducts consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. ADA North East works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™, the national dairy checkoff organization, to support nutrition research, national partnerships and developing export markets for dairy to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the region. For more information, visit www.AmericanDairy.com, or call 315.472.9143.