GENYOUth, an organization founded through the dairy checkoff to help create healthier schools, is providing “grab-n-go” breakfast carts to Fuel Up to Play 60 schools across the country. The carts will serve more than 5 million pounds of milk annually, according to Rosemont, Ill.-based Dairy Management Inc. (DMI).
GENYOUth — with financial contributions from private businesses — is supporting the installation of the carts in more than 200 schools. The carts will provide breakfast to about 70,000 students daily, serving an estimated 5.8 million pounds of milk annually as a part of the schools’ breakfast program.
All schools that receive the carts participate in Fuel Up to Play 60, a youth wellness program founded by dairy farmers through National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with USDA. Fuel Up to Play 60 is the flagship program of GENYOUth, DMI said.
The carts feature a Fuel Up to Play 60 logo and offer a serving of milk, fruit, whole grain and a meat alternative option (which could be smoothies, yogurt parfaits or cheese) for each breakfast. Each cart features a cooler to keep the dairy foods cold. Foods served from the carts are provided as part of USDA’s School Breakfast Program and meet the federal nutrition guidelines.
“Breakfast carts are an important asset because they’re making a nutritious morning meal, including dairy, more accessible to kids in a very convenient way,” said Marilyn Hershey, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer who serves as chair of DMI, which manages the national dairy checkoff. “We wouldn’t have the resources to provide these carts without partners, which is why it is so important to have GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60 as our vehicles to bring these companies to the table.”
According to research conducted by the Food Research and Action Center, innovative practices of serving food at school are critical for students who are prone to skipping breakfast. Concepts such as breakfast after the bell and grab-n-go carts are proven as most effective in growing participation by helping schools overcome barriers associated with the traditional cafeteria breakfast, including timing, convenience and stigma.
Ann Marie Krautheim, RD, president and chief wellness officer for GENYOUth, said the carts are reaching schools where many students come from food-insecure households.
“This grab-n-go initiative is impacting schools and communities that need it the most,” Krautheim said. “We’ve had schools tell us these carts are game-changers as they are helping feed hungry kids who may not have access to a meal at home.
“We know that students who are well-nourished with foods such as dairy have a better chance of being successful in the classroom,” she added. “This is a win for students and a win for dairy.”
Forty-one carts are being unveiled at schools throughout March — National Nutrition Month — with support from state and regional Dairy Council staff. The funding for the carts delivered this month was generated by 19,000 PepsiCo North America employees who took more than 5 billion steps last year as part of the company’s Ready, Set, Move … Give! Healthy Living program. The goal is to turn steps into dollars provided by Pepsico Foundation to support serving nutritious breakfast to students across the country, DMI said.
Other third-party support for the cart program came from GENYOUth’s partners, including the General Mills Foundation, Georgia Power Foundation, Arby’s Foundation, Delta Airlines, the Home Depot Foundation, WellCare Community Foundation and UnitedHealthcare.
GENYOUth has had Fuel Up to Play 60 and Adventure Capital programs in over 73,000 schools, reaching over 38 million students in nearly 10 years of operation. For more information about GENYOUth, visit www.genyouthnow.org.