Produce Marketing Association (PMA), as a member of the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, donated a salad bar to John R. Downes Elementary School in Newark, Del., on Friday, May 11, as part of its commitment to increasing children’s consumption of fresh produce, in support of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools and the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative, which focuses on providing students access to healthy foods.
The donation kicked-off with a pep rally during the students’ lunch hour where they were greeted by Wilmington Blue Rocks’ Mr. Celery, Congressman John Carney, Mayor of Newark, Vance Funk, and Bryan Silbermann, PMA’s president and CEO.
“It’s important that young people learn how to eat healthy at an early age. We know that children who eat a healthy diet are much more likely to continue good eating habits as they grow older,” said Congressman Carney. “I’m very pleased that students at Downes Elementary will now have this salad bar among the other healthy options they can choose from at lunch. Making sure every child has a nutritious lunch will give them more energy and help them perform better in school.”
In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine concluded schools need to add as many as two servings of fruits and vegetables daily to meet children’s basic health requirements. Recent rules from USDA require a doubling of fruit and vegetable offerings for school meals.
“Having a salad bar option for our elementary school students is an innovative idea that will encourage children to make healthy eating choices,” says Christina School District Superintendent Dr. Marcia V. Lyles. “On behalf of the students and families at Downes Elementary School who will benefit from this wonderful addition to their school, I wish to sincerely thank Produce Marketing Association. PMA has truly demonstrated that it is an outstanding community partner willing to help support positive opportunities for our children to live healthier lifestyles.”
“PMA is excited to build on the foundation that the United Fresh Produce Association built with Salad Bars to Schools, which has now been elevated to a national program – Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools – supporting the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance and the First Lady’s initiatives for a healthier America,” says Silbermann. “This effort to increase consumption of produce creates an otherwise missed opportunity to improve the lives and healthful eating habits of school children for generations to come.”