Dairy farmers recognized that students were at risk to not receive school meals that include milk and dairy foods because of school closures due to the pandemic. Together with American Dairy Association North East, they offered grants to 108 schools to purchase equipment to support meal service.
The Back-to-School Equipment Grant provided up to $3,000 to schools to help purchase necessary equipment. The 108 schools in the ADA North East six-state region were granted equipment packages to support their plans to increase meal participation and dairy use on menus. Strategies included offering multiple delivery options to support grab and go meals and meals delivered to classrooms; adding more yogurt and cheese on menus; and providing an all-time favorite – hot chocolate milk.
“Schools have been challenged with how to safely feed their students whether in the classroom or learning remotely,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “Our dairy farmers recognized the need to support schools’ food distribution options to ensure students had access to food and cold milk and providing the equipment grants was one obvious solution.”
A few success stories from grant recipients include:
- North Tioga School District in northeastern Pennsylvania serves meals in the classroom and the district received a one or two crate milk cooler to help transport meals and milk to students. This equipment helped the district increase meal participation by 15 percent, or an additional 955 meals.
- Lacey Township School District along the New Jersey shore also serves meals in the classroom. They received a two-crate milk cooler, a travel cart and insulated tote bags. The district served an additional 224 students for breakfast and 61 additional students for lunch.
- Easton Area School District in eastern Pennsylvania serves meals in the classroom and received insulated tote bags. The equipment support helped the district serve an additional 1,873 breakfasts and 1,118 lunches weekly, which is an increase of nearly 3,000 half-pints of milk weekly.
- Baldwinsville Central School district in central New York serves students grab and go breakfast. The district received a kiosk and insulated breakfast bags with the support of ADA North East and served an additional 211 meals weekly, which correlates to an additional 169 half-pints of milk a week.
For more information about ADA North East’s efforts to support school nutrition directors and school feeding programs, visit NutritionConnection.org.