Norwood, MA – An early morning didn’t dampen the excitement at Norwood High School. Wednesday marked the start of the school’s new Grab-N-Go breakfast program. Special guests, New England Patriot Chase Winovich and local dairy farmer Charlie Tully, were on hand to help serve breakfast to students.
The new breakfast cart was made possible by a grant from the PepsiCo Foundation’s Healthy Living Program: Ready, Step, Move…Give! which encourages employees to take steps on behalf of child nutrition. Norwood High School qualified for the cart because it is enrolled in GENYOUTH’s flagship program Fuel Up to Play 60, a nationwide school wellness program launched ten years ago by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, in partnership with USDA. In New England, the program is administered by New England Dairy and made possible by the dairy farm families of the region.
Grab-N-Go breakfast programs continue to grow in popularity across the nation. These programs allow students easier access to nutritious foods to start their day by meeting them in heavily-trafficked areas before classes begin, or occasionally in-between morning classes. Once students have their healthy foods of choice, they can eat on their way to class or during the first class period.
“There are a handful of reasons for why students don’t eat breakfast in the morning. We knew we could increase access to healthy foods by making some changes. Creating a grab-n-go program allows us to address a major barrier for students: time,” explained Elijah Norris, Chartwells Director of Dining Services for Norwood Public Schools. “We know many families are strapped for time, and students aren’t always getting adequate access to nutritious foods. This new breakfast program lets us hit those issues.”
At the morning kick-off event, New England Patriot Chase Winovich as well as local dairy farmer Charlie Tully interacted with students and helped hand out breakfast. The two were joined by members of Stacy’s Pita Chip: Camila Dias, Lisa Gomez, Mario Mendonca, Elizabeth Shokunbi, Kim Ngo. The healthy snack company is owned by PepsiCo and took part in the Foundation’s Healthy Living Program. Stacy’s Pita Chip has a production facility in Randolph, MA.
Nearly 1 in 6 children in the US live in food-insecure households. GENYOUTH, the PepsiCo Foundation and New England Dairy are working to help even more students fuel greatness with a nourishing meal to start each day.
“When students start their day on an empty stomach, there are plenty of negative consequences, such as an inability to focus, behavioral issues, and more.” said Jane Vergnani, RD, LDN, and Nutrition Specialist with New England Dairy. “On the other hand, when students do eat breakfast, they perform better academically and have better dietary intake overall. For these reasons, school breakfast and lunch absolutely play a role in supporting a productive learning environment.”
The first week of March marks National School Breakfast Week, a time when schools, students and stakeholders can celebrate the progress and improvements being made to school nutrition programs. The Grab-N-Go cart awarded to Norwood High School is just one of six going to New England schools; and is just one of 45 breakfast carts being awarded to schools across the country. These programs will help serve some 4.5 million nutritious breakfast meals to students.
In 2019, more than 25,000 PepsiCo employees took over 8 billion steps to support serving breakfast to students nationwide.
About New England Dairy
New England Dairy’s mission is to champion the region’s farm families and the nutritious foods they produce. The non-profit organization does this by sharing the New England dairy story, connecting people to dairy farms, supporting youth wellness in schools and delivering the latest nutrition and sustainability science to health professionals, scientists, media, nutrition professionals and educators.
About Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.
About NFL PLAY 60
Designed to help tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL’s long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like the National Dairy Council. NFLPLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL’s in-school, after-school and team-based programs. For more information, visit NFL.com/Play60. © 2018 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).