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The United Fresh Produce Association Foundation and Chiquita Brands have joined forces to help increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for thousands of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students by funding 10 new salad bars as part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative.
The donation of the school salad bars came on the first anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative to fight childhood obesity, which brings the total number of salad bars serving CPS students to 72. By the end of 2011, CPS is committed to operating 110 salad bars throughout the district.
Chiquita’s chairman and CEO, Fernando Aguirre, United Fresh VP of nutrition and health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, and international banana ambassador Miss Chiquita joined Moos Elementary Principal Maria Elana Cruz and other school officials for a special dedication ceremony earlier this week at Bernhard Moos Elementary School in West Chicago.
“On the first anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s bipartisan initiative to fight childhood obesity, Chiquita is proud to be at the forefront of providing children increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Aguirre. “Chiquita’s donation of salad bars to Chicago Public Schools furthers our sustained commitment to helping children live healthier lives. At Chiquita, providing all consumers with convenient and fresh products is part of our vision of a healthier world; helping children reach that goal is one of our top priorities.”
“We are thrilled that Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third largest school system, has made a commitment to salad bars as a way of increasing student’s fruit and vegetable consumption,” said DiSogra. “Salad bars are an effective strategy for improving the healthfulness of school meals and the eating habits of students. Chicago Public Schools is a leader in Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, and we thank Chiquita and CPS for their valuable teamwork.”
United Fresh, Chiquita and CPS announced the donation as part of the CPS commitment to salad bars as an effective strategy to increase fresh fruit and vegetable intake among Chicagoland schoolchildren. Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 410,000 students in more than 670 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school system.
Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools was developed to support the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to solve childhood obesity within a generation. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is a comprehensive grassroots public health effort to mobilize and engage stakeholders at the national, state and local level to support salad bars in schools. With the goal of significantly increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption through school salad bars, the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative is committed to 6,000 salad bars to schools across the country over the next three years. Chiquita, through its Fresh Express subsidiary, was the first produce company to commit multi-year financial and operational support for the school salad bar effort.
In May 2010, Chiquita inaugurated its first salad bar donation to Cincinnati Public Schools with bipartisan support from Republican Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (OH-2) and then Democratic Congressman Steve Driehaus (OH-1).