Alder milks grants to boost student nutrition

American Dairy Association Mideast CEO Scott Higgins and Union County dairy farmer Rob Bouic present a $5,000 check to Jonathan Alder Local Schools to help provide healthier breakfast and lunch menu options through the Fuel Up To Play 60 grant program.

(Posted Dec. 22, 2016)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

When classes resume in January, Jonathan Alder Junior High students will be the target of a promotion to eat breakfast at school.

Tonya Grove, Jonathan Alder Schools food service director, hopes the campaign does for the older students what a similar campaign did for the lower grades.

With a $1,500 grant, Grove plans to conduct a poster campaign proclaiming the benefits of eating breakfast. Currently, only 9 percent of Jonathan Alder Junior High students eat breakfast at school.

“They’re too busy socializing or they want to sleep in,” Grove said of students in their early teens.

“There will be competitions, too, to see which classroom can get the largest number to breakfast” she added.

This is the second such grant Jonathan Alder has received. With the first one, which was for $5,000, Grove purchased smoothie-making machines for each of the district’s school buildings and developed a menu of yogurt-based smoothies.

New statistics released by the American Dairy Association Mideast show that more children are choosing to eat breakfast at school.

Nationally, about 28 percent of children have breakfast at school. But thanks to dairy farmer funding, breakfast numbers have climbed to more than 43 percent for Ohio and West Virginia schools receiving a Fuel Up To Play 60 grant.

The grants are part of a national program co-created with the National Football League and United States Department of Agriculture and funded by dairy farmers. The aim is to implement healthy changes at the community level, like improving school breakfasts.

An American Dairy Association video features the changes being made at Jonathan Alder. In it, expressive sixth-grader Austin Oiler talks about the benefits of eating breakfast and the fact that he is a fan of the smoothies.

Sixth grader Austin Oiler grabs a smoothie in the Canaan Middle School breakfast line. Austin`s school district purchased smoothie machines for every school building using grant money provided by dairy farmers as part of the Fuel Up To Play 60 program.

The video also pays tribute to local dairy farmers who are identified as parents of students, leaders in the community, and members of school boards.

School nutrition directors like Grove say the menu changes are helping to keep kids fueled up, focused and ready to work in the classroom.

“If we can offer something healthy like a smoothie that contains a lot of protein, we know the kids will have more energy that they can channel into their school work instead of hitting a wall before lunch,” Grove said.

Other items on the breakfast menu at Jonathan Alder are whole grain breads, bagels and Pop-Tarts, the students’ favorite. “But we keep the sugar content down,” Grove said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.