USDA Celebrates World School Milk Day with Visit to Lebanon, Pennsylvania
FNS Official Highlights Flexibilities Ensuring Healthy Meals Reach All Children During Pandemic
Lebanon, PA, September 30, 2020 – USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Pam Miller visited two sites in Lebanon today to celebrate World School Milk Day. Miller met with the American Dairy Association North East and toured Brook-Corner Holsteins dairy farm to see first-hand the hard work and dedication American farmers put into getting nutritious milk and other products to the school lunch table.
Miller oversees USDA's 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Special Milk Program, and development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, all of which feature milk as a key component of a healthy diet. “Making sure nutritious milk is available in our schools is a USDA priority, and we are always looking for ways to highlight the dairy farmers who are the linchpin to help achieve that goal,” said Miller. “Today's visit to the dairy farm shows the evolution of milk from the farm to the school meal tray-- a win-win for both school student diets and America's dairy farmers.”
“As dairy farmers, we understand the importance of how USDA plans for healthy, balanced meals for all students to achieve success - because we do the same for our cows,” said dairy farmer Diane Hoover. “We have a dairy nutrition expert who balances our cows' diets to ensure they're getting the nutritional requirements to perform to the best of their abilities – just like students!”
Miller also paid a visit to Lebanon High School to meet with school officials and to see how they have adapted their National School Lunch Program to offer a “grab and go” model for students that are learning online. “We always appreciate the incredible efforts by our school food service professionals every year, but this year is unprecedented,” said Miller. “Their dedication and adaptability ensure nutritious meals are reaching all children – whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually – so they are fed and ready to learn.”
USDA provided critical flexibilities to help schools and communities feed kids through the child nutrition programs during the pandemic. The Department issued over 50 nationwide waivers and waiver extensions, which support social distancing, provide streamlined access, and allow for flexible meal service options.
These USDA flexibilities also allowed Lebanon School District to heroically feed kids all summer long, referring to USDA programs as a lifeline for students. “At the peak of summer we served 10 meals each week to 1500 families,” said Superintendent Dr. Arthur Abrom. “We are incredibly proud of our community and thankful for the ability to reach students who need food sustainability.”
The first World School Milk Day (WSMD) was celebrated in September 2000 and has since become an annual event celebrated around the world. Each September, countries celebrate World School Milk Day to promote the health benefits of school milk programs. In the United States we can truly celebrate this success as our numerous FNS school programs all highlight the importance of milk. Follow along at #WorldSchoolMilkDay.
American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) represents nearly 10,000 dairy farm families in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. ADA North East develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organization also conducts consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. For more information, visit www.AmericanDairy.com.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American's agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy. Follow us on Twitter at @USDANutrition.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.