United Fresh Start Foundation Teams Up With Blue Cross Blue Shield to Provide Salad Bars to 20 Schools; Andrew Marshall and Ken Hayward Discuss
WASHINGTON, DC - Looking to inspire the next generation of consumers to make healthy eating choices, United Fresh Start Foundation has teamed up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to install salad bars in 20 schools across the state. These new salad bars are part of the organization’s Salad Bars to School initiative, which provides equipment and resources to inspire kids to try new items while incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their meals.
“This partnership is so valuable, not just to the schools who are benefitting, but also for what this collaboration represents,” said Andrew Marshall, Director of Foodservice and Foundation Partnerships, United Fresh Produce Association. “Both of our organizations understand how critically important it is that children have access to meals at school that include a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. With childhood obesity and rates of diabetes continuing to rise, along with the reality that those with diet-related conditions are at a much greater health risk, there’s never been a more important time to prioritize healthy eating, both for our children and families.”
In addition to the new salad bars this year, as noted in a press release, foodservice staff will also receive a commercial grade sectionizer-slicer to quickly and easily prepare a variety of fresh-cut fruits and veggies to keep the salad bars well stocked. Since 2015, more than 100 salad bars have been placed in Michigan schools through the efforts of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, overall benefitting over 50,000 students.
Through school-based interventions, such as providing students with fruit and vegetable choices from a salad bar, schools can comply with USDA nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program. Salad bars have also been noted as an effective strategy to increase fresh produce consumption, inspiring children to choose healthier diets.
“Blue Cross is proud to support salad bars in Michigan schools to increase access to a variety of healthy options during school meals to thousands of students across Michigan,” commented Ken Hayward, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Vice President and Special Assistant to the President for Community Relations. “Healthy, nutrient-rich food choices are a critical component to helping children and adolescents lead healthier lifestyles and maintain well-being.”
The United Fresh Start Foundation has remained committed to helping schools encourage healthy eating, and through Salad Bars to Schools along with other initiatives, the foundation is addressing childhood obesity while creating opportunities for children to select healthier meals.
Over the past ten years, Salad Bars to Schools has delivered almost 6,000 salad bars across the country, including more than 400 to schools in Michigan.
Cheers to United Fresh Start Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for using the power of fresh produce to inspire healthy living in the next generation!