USDA, Fuel Up to Play 60 Award $35 Million in School GrantsFri, 05 Feb 2016 11:56:35 CST
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the dairy farmer-founded Fuel Up to Play 60 program are providing $35 million in grants to help schools nationwide upgrade their kitchen equipment and infrastructure to help provide students better access to healthy foods, including dairy.
More than 30 million students – or three out of every five – rely on school meals once or twice a day. However, according to a 2014 Pew Charitable Trusts survey, 88 percent of schools reported lacking at least one piece of equipment they needed in order to serve healthier foods.
“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.”
Fuel Up to Play 60 has become the nation’s most effective program of its kind by reaching students in 73,000 schools. It was created by dairy farmers and the National Football League with support from the USDA to foster the next generation of healthy, high-achieving youth.
As a result of Fuel Up to Play 60, 13 million students are making better food choices and 16 million students are getting more physically active during the school day since it began in 2008.
Since 2009, USDA has awarded $215 million in school nutrition equipment grants, including $30 million this year. Fuel Up to Play 60, which has provided more than $22 million in funds to schools, is providing $5 million.
“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.
“We applaud our Fuel Up to Play 60 partners for their continued commitment to child nutrition. This collaboration enables us to expand our efforts and have a broader positive impact on our youth.”
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