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USDA Official Visits Alabama to Honor 52 Alabama Public Schools for Meeting USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge

Release No.
0580.10

Contact:
Jean Daniel (703) 305-2281

Local Schools Receive National Recognition Award

PELHAM, Ala., Oct. 29, 2010 - Janey Thornton, USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service Deputy Under Secretary, today recognized 52 Alabama Public Schools receiving the HealthierUS School Challenge award at the Pelham Civic Center.

"I'm thrilled to recognize these 52 Alabama schools for this extraordinary achievement," said Deputy Under Secretary Thornton. "A HealthierUS School award is one of the highest honors a school can achieve and it is particularly notable that 39 of these schools have achieved Gold Awards of Distinction. It is an unprecedented accomplishment in our country that everyone in Alabama and throughout the nation should be proud of. Setting the bar at this very high level reflects a strong commitment to provide students with additional healthy food options throughout the school campus, and to emphasize nutrition education and physical activity in the school curriculum."

During a ceremony at the Civic Center, Ms. Thornton applauded Boaz Intermediate, Jemison Elementary, Fayette Elementary, Geneva County Elementary, Guntersville Elementary, Edgewood Elementary, Hall Kent Elementary, Shades Cahaba Elementary, Deer Valley Elementary, Green Valley Elementary, Greystone Elementary, Gwin Elementary, Riverchase Elementary, Rocky Ridge Elementary, Shades Mountain Elementary, South Shades Crest Elementary, Trace Crossings Elementary, Clay Elementary, North Highland Elementary, Sanford Middle School, Harvest Elementary, Union Grove Elementary, Midfield Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Ridgecrest Elementary, Sherwood Elementary, Westview Elementary, Calera Elementary, Calera Intermediate/Middle, Chelsea Intermediate, Chelsea Park Elementary, Creek View Elementary, Elvin Hill Elementary, Helena Elementary, Helena Intermediate, Inverness Elementary, Meadow View Elementary, Montevallo Elementary, Mt. Laurel Elementary, Oak Mountain Elementary, Oak Mountain Intermediate, Shelby Elementary, Thompson Intermediate, Wilsonville Elementary, Valley Elementary, Valley Intermediate, Vincent Elementary, B.B. Comer Elementary, Childesburg Elementary, Paine Primary and Winfield Elementary school students, food service staff and school officials for earning an award in USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC).

In February, the First Lady and USDA challenged stakeholders to double the number of HUSSC schools within in a year and add 1,000 schools per year for two years after that. Schools participating in the Challenge are recognized with Gold of Distinction, Gold, Silver, or Bronze-level certification. As of October 20th, 881 HUSSC awards have been made to schools. HUSSC certification also includes monetary incentives for schools -$2,000 for Gold Award of Distinction, $1,500 for Gold, $1,000 for Silver and $500 for Bronze.

The First Lady actively supports the HUSSC with innovative Let's Move initiatives, including Chefs Move to Schools, a collaboration that links chefs with nearby schools, and most recently with the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition, launched in early September. This competition brings together chefs, school nutrition professionals, students and parents who work in in teams to develop nutritious, delicious, kid-approved recipes for use in schools. Recipes must be submitted by Dec. 30. Winners will have a chance to compete in a national cook-off and $12,000 in prizes. For more information, please visit www.recipesforkidschallenge.com.

Improving USDA's child nutrition programs on behalf of 32 million kids across the nation is a top priority of the Obama Administration. Strengthening the Child Nutrition Act, which authorizes USDA's child nutrition programs including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, is the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign. This legislation will serve as a down payment in battling hunger and food insecurity while providing critical resources to raise a generation of healthy children. To learn more about the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign, visit www.LetsMove.gov.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.