In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dairy MAX and the New Orleans Saints—in partnership with GENYOUth— will contribute $50,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund to support local schools with the purchase of resources needed for meal distribution and delivery, as well as protective gear for sanitation and safety. Each school can receive up to $3,000 in grant funds, administered by GENYOUth. Application and additional information can be found at www.dairymax.org.
The COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund will be executed as part of Fuel Up To Play 60 program, which promotes student health and wellness through nutrition education, access to nutrient-rich foods and increased physical activity opportunities.
More than a half million students locally rely on government subsidized school meals for a substantial portion of their daily nutrition, and this necessary nutrition has been impacted by more than 124,000 U.S. public and private school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While federal funding continues to support school feeding programs, additional funding is crucial to provide schools with the necessary resources for food storage, single-serve packaging, distribution, delivery and sanitation/safety protective gear as they adapt to new means of delivering healthy meals to our nation's children. The COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund has been put in place to help schools meet those additional needs.
"As a dairy farmer, caring for my community and the next generation are huge priorities," said Susie Sharkey, dairy farmer and Dairy MAX board member. "Making sure kids are fed, especially during this time, is something we all should commit to."
"We are fortunate to have great partners like the New Orleans Saints, Dairy MAX and GENYOUth," Livingston Parish assistant superintendent, Jody Purvis said. "Since the start of the school closures over two weeks ago one of our major priorities has been making sure the students in our parish have enough food to eat. We started providing meals immediately within several of our schools and have served over 25,000 meals. These grants will further help schools meet that need in providing nutritious options for all of students."
Launched in 2009 by the National Dairy Council and National Football league, in partnership with the USDA, FUTP 60 is the nation's largest in-school wellness program and is supported locally by Dairy MAX and the New Orleans Saints.
"Now is the time for us to support each other," adds Cameron Jordan, defensive end for the New Orleans Saints. "Tough times don't last, but tough people do. As an ambassador for Fuel Up To Play 60, I know there are a lot of kids who don't eat if they don't eat at school. We still want to feed these kids, and the grants will help schools do more of that."
Applications will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis and can be accessed at www.dairymax.org. Schools are encouraged to apply as early as possible.