Building Partnership to Support School Meals During COVID-19

Erin Wholey, RD, LDN| View Author Bio

We can do more together. 

New England Dairy has a 100year history of supporting efforts to improve child nutrition. Our organization and the local dairy farmers we represent understand the important role that school meals play in nourishing students across New England—now more than ever.  A new report from Feeding America (April 2020) estimates that 1 in 4 children could experience food insecurity this year due to rises in unemployment and poverty as a result of COVID19.  This is a scary statistic that requires immediate action.  We applaud the school nutrition professionals across our region who quickly adapted when schools closed to continue to serve nutrient-rich milk and meals to their students, creating new service models overnight and continuing to evolve over the last couple of months to meet the growing need in their communities. 

New England dairy farmersalong with other generous partners, have provided school meal programs nearly $255K in total grants and equipment to date.   The schools we’ve supported are serving over 1 million meals and milks per week.  That’s an estimate of over 10 million meals being provided to students in these communities since schools closed Below are more details about the grants provided:  

  • New England dairy farmers provided $130,000 for portable milk coolers and other equipment needed to safely serve dairy, distributed to over 100 districts across New England
  • The Greater Worcester Community Foundation donated $10K to provide grants to 6 school districts in Worcester County, MA 
  • The You Have our Trust Fund donated $40K to provide grants to 21 school districts in NH 
  • In addition, our national partner GENYOUth has provided $75K to 38 schools in our region to date through their COVID19 School Nutrition Emergency Fund  

As rates of food insecurity continue to increase, school meals are a critical part of the solution to feeding hungry students. In the coming weeks New England Dairy will be announcing a new school grant opportunity to support efforts to serve meals safely this fall when school resumes.  Stay tuned for more details once they become available.   

New England Dairy sincerely thanks the organizations and local dairy farmers who have come together to support school meals during this unprecedented time. We are honored to work with organizations like the ones above who believe that contributing to school nutrition programs is an investment in our local communities and in our future. Their contributions significantly increased the number of students and families we were able to support in response to COVID19. Contact us if you’d like to get involved and support future grants to support school meals.   

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