Chelan Fresh provides portable school meal carts
For the first time in over a year, many students will be back in school buildings, navigating a new normal. The last thing that should be on their minds is where their next meal comes from. Unfortunately, more than 13 million students in the U.S. lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. That’s why Fuel Up to Play 60 and Chelan Fresh are stepping up to the plate, donating school meal carts that will be used in Fuel Up to Play 60 schools in Washington and Texas.
The twelve Grab and Goal school meal carts are an innovative solution donated by Chelan Fresh, one of Washington State’s largest suppliers of apples and pears and the nation’s largest provider of fresh cherries, to participating schools and will reach nearly 10,000 students, serving an estimated 1.6 million meals annually. This is in addition to an estimated 2.7M meals served as a result of carts provided during previous collaborations in the 2018-2020 school years.
While schools may look different this year due COVID-19, providing nutritious meal options to students is more important than ever, and 70 percent of parents said COVID-19 made them realize how important school meals are to families. “30 million students rely on school meals every day,” said Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND, president, National Dairy Council, “and with childhood food insecurity rates rising, access to nutritious school meals is one way to help students meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for dairy foods, produce, whole grains, and lean sources of protein, which are all important for growth and development.”
According to Feeding America, the effects of COVID-19 can be felt across the nation as now 1 in 6 children are food insecure. Chelan Fresh and Fuel Up to Play 60 are committed to getting students the nutrition they need, and these carts are a way to deliver nutritious foods while ensuring safety and meeting school guidelines.
Finding new ways to serve nutritious options in schools can make a difference in helping provide all students with the nutrition they need to fuel their potential. The rolling carts from Chelan Fresh provide easy solutions to school nutrition and meal service teams, allowing them to repurpose the carts to deliver meals to classrooms or parking lots, and areas that provide students easy access to nutritious foods. These carts will be provided to recipient schools in Washington and Texas in time for the 2021-22 school year.
This effort marks Chelan Fresh’s support of Fuel Up to Play 60 for the 10th consecutive year, reinforcing the companies’ ongoing commitment to help K-12 schools improve or expand their nutrition and physical activity programs through Fuel Up to Play 60.
“As one of the original supporters of the Fuel Up to Play 60 team, Chelan Fresh has been a leader in the produce industry ensuring kids try and continue to choose nutritious food items at school and at home,” said Mac Riggan, director of marketing at Chelan Fresh.
The company began its support of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in 2011, and since that time has provided over $755,000 in funding and in-kind resources to support increasing student’s access across the country to nutritious foods.
“On behalf of National Dairy Council, dairy farmers and the dairy community, we’re thankful to continue our longstanding relationship with Chelan Fresh and their growers, and to collaborate in nourishing schools and communities through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program,” said Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND, president, National Dairy Council. “The joint effort from Chelan Fresh and Fuel Up to Play 60 will provide more students across the country with access to nutritious meals that include under-consumed dairy foods and produce in a convenient, on-the-go setting, providing them the nourishment they need to help fuel greatness in their learning, growth and development and play.”