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Thirty-nine schools in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee will soon have salads bars as part of their school lunch programs, thanks to a successful collaboration between Publix Super Markets, Produce for Kids (PFK) and the United Fresh Foundation that marks the largest single produce industry contribution to date to the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative that will benefit more than 20,000 students.
The successful partnership between the trio raised funds to donate salad bars to the schools through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative.
Noting that the generous donation from PFK and Publix Super Markets will jump-start salad bars in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh VP of nutrition, said the milestone is especially gratifying when considering “that 17 salad bars will go to Miami-Dade County Public schools, where just over a year ago First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools at Riverside Elementary School.”
Salad bars will also be donated to schools in Walker County in Alabama; Polk County and Union County in Florida; Troup County and Lanier County in Georgia; and the Coffee County School District in Tennessee.
“Foods that are colorful and fresh are tempting to the eyes and the taste buds,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of media & community relations. “When children are exposed to fruits and vegetables from a salad bar they are more likely to eat and enjoy them. Our goal is to help develop a love for these foods at school that can then be shared with families at home.”
“The Produce for Kids campaigns are aimed at raising awareness about healthy eating while raising funds for worthy children’s causes,” said PFK’s Kim Avola. “The Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative takes the healthy eating message directly to schools by providing kids with nutritious options and giving them the opportunity to try healthy fruits and vegetables.”
Publix sponsored the Produce for Kids “Healthy Schools, Healthy Minds” sales promotion this past fall in the produce departments of all their stores to benefit Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools and to increase awareness about healthy eating.
While childhood obesity is a problem nationwide, the Southeast has higher rates than the national average. Further, children’s fruit and vegetable consumption is also lower in the Southeast. As such, Tom Stenzel, United Fresh’s president/CEO, said, “These 39 salad bars will increase students’ fruit and vegetable consumption and provide healthier options at lunch. Together with our Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools partners, more than 1,200 schools nationwide now have salad bars.”