John J. Ahern Middle School has been chosen to receive $3,996 to support its Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative, the New England Dairy & Food Council announced today. Ahern Middle School was selected from among hundreds of schools across the country that applied for funding to help them jumpstart and sustain healthy nutrition and physical activity improvements. This nationwide funding program offers schools up to $4,000 to help them increase awareness of and access to nutrient-rich foods and physical activity opportunities for students. Funding for this competitive program is provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farmers of Massachusetts.
Funds for Fuel Up to Play 60 provides support for a variety of activities and tools, such as foodservice materials and equipment, nutrition and physical education materials, student and staff incentives, staff development and overall Fuel Up to Play 60 implementation.
Ahern Middle School will use the funds to purchase a 1.5 gallon blender to support its new fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie offerings at lunch. The school nutrition department plans to gather student input through taste tests to determine which smoothie flavors are most popular. Additionally, funds will be used to purchase equipment for the school’s fitness room. Last year, Fuel Up to Play 60 helped jumpstart the fitness room by provided funding for weighted balls and free-weights, and this year’s funds will help expand the fitness room options with the addition of fitness steps, agility ladders, ab wheels, training hurdles, as well as fitness posters and charts.
“We are excited to offer students healthy options in the cafeteria as well as physical activity choices in the fitness room,” said Janelle Erskine, district wellness coordinator for Foxborough Schools. “Students love choice, and we know that by offering more options, we can increase participation in our school lunch program as well as our fitness room activities.”
More than 73,000 schools across the United States are participating in Fuel Up to Play 60. Developed by National Dairy Council, local Dairy Councils and National Football League (NFL), in collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Multiple health organizations and several major corporations also support Fuel Up to Play 60.
“Fuel Up to Play 60 has really taken off in Foxborough. Wellness champions and students in more schools across the district have embraced the program, and these funds will help many of the participating schools do even more,” said Jill Read, RD, nutrition specialist with New England Dairy & Food Council.
Schools, parents and students can learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 at FuelUpToPlay60.com. Schools can learn more about eligibility requirements, and find the Funds for Fuel Up to Play 60 application, at FuelUpToPlay60.com. There are several application windows each year, including the upcoming deadline on November 1, 2013.