Dairy MAX, Denver Broncos Provide $50K COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund in Response to Pandemic

Mar 31, 2020
Justin Simmons with a sign that says "COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund"

In response to the current coronavirus pandemic, Dairy MAX and the Denver Broncos—in partnership with the Denver Broncos and Fuel up to Play 60—will contribute $50,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund to support local schools with the purchase of resources needed to provide continued school meal programs. Each school can receive up to $3,000 in grant funds, and the application can be accessed at https://covid-19.genyouthnow.org/.

School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic are taking a serious toll on more than 55 million students nationwide, especially the almost 1 million local students who depend on school meals for their daily nutrition. While 124,000 public and private schools are closed nationwide, school districts recognize the importance of maintaining continuity of school meal programs and are providing meals through grab and go, drive through pick up, bus stop delivery and summer meal sites. The COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund has been put in place to help schools purchase the necessary resources for food storage, single-serve packaging, distribution, delivery and sanitation/safety protective gear as they adapt to new means of delivering healthy meals to our nation’s children. Check your local school websites for a current list of schools serving meals.

“Our Nutrition Services Department consistently serves nourishment and fuel to our students daily. Our community has voiced the immediate need by their participation in our new platform. In just nine days, we have distributed more than 70,000 meals to our community. It is critical that we continue to do our part to ensure our "new normal" stays consistent to our mission and purpose! We are blessed and thankful to participate with ALL the Nutrition Services Superheroes across this great country in feeding the nation's future,” says Shannon Solomon, Director of Nutrition Services for Aurora Public Schools.

Local dairy farmers—in partnership with the Denver Broncos—have been supporting childhood nutrition initiatives for years. “Local dairy farmers have a longstanding commitment to making sure kids have access to nutritious food, and it’s more important now than ever before,” said Rick Podtburg, dairy farmer and Dairy MAX board chairman.

The COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund will be executed as part of the Fuel Up To Play 60 program, the nation’s largest in-school wellness program promoting student health and wellness. The program is supported locally by Dairy MAX and the Denver Broncos and will offer each school up to $3,000 in grant funds, administered by GENYOUth.

“Right now is a time for us all to come together to help each other,” says Justin Simmons, safety for the Denver Broncos. “My family and I have supported school meals directly through the Denver Public Schools Foundation’s food fund, and I’m proud to continue that support through my partner FUTP 60. I have worked with FUTP 60 for the past two years talking to kids about eating right and staying active, and now these grants will help schools continue to serve the meals kids need.”

Applications will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis, and schools can access the application at https://covid-19.genyouthnow.org/. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Below are FAQs to help address any additional questions:

  1. Who is eligible to receive the grant funds?
    • The COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund is available to schools across the country.
  2. What can schools purchase with State and Region funds from the COVID-19 School Nutrition Fund?
    • Equipment for cold storage of milk or other perishable items (e.g., coolers, insulated bags, refrigerators or freezers, etc.)
    • Equipment for transporting or serving food or milk (e.g., breakfast cart/ kiosk, travel carts to move food, serving tables, cardboard boxes, paper/plastic bags, etc.)
    • Sanitation equipment (cleaning supplies, hand sanitizing dispensers, rubber gloves, etc.)
    • Cafeteria equipment for preparation of food (e.g., food prep equipment, slicers, etc.)
    • Stipends for Staff
  3. How long will the application process last?
    Applications will be approved on a rolling basis.
  4. How will GENYOUth determine which schools get the grants?
    GENYOUth will score applications using a rubric that gives points for 1) number of students served, 2) percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch, 3) number of meals per day served and 4) a description of how funds will be used.