Dairy MAX, NFL Teams Provide Emergency Grants to Schools in Response to COVID-19

Apr 23, 2020
graphic that says "COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund"

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dairy MAX and the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints—in partnership with GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60—will contribute $250,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund to support local schools with the purchase of resources needed to provide continued school meal programs. These funds were already earmarked for in-school grants and will be used exclusively in the Dairy MAX region.

School closures due to COVID-19 are taking a serious toll on more than 55 million students nationwide, especially the 8.5 million locally 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.

Local dairy farmers, in partnership with the NFL, 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 program promoting student health and wellness. The program is supported locally by Dairy MAX and the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints and will offer each school up to $3,000 in grant funds, administered by GENYOUth.

Retired Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Travis Frederick has been a longtime supporter and player representative for FUTP 60. “Fighting childhood hunger is core to my Blocking Out Hunger Foundation. Working with FUTP 60 over the past several years, I have been able to help raise awareness for the importance of school meals for so many kids who depend on them. We want to ensure that schools are able to continue feeding kids, even though everything about how they do that has changed, and these grants will help schools make sure their students are fed.”

And Justin Simmons, safety for the Denver Broncos, speaks to the impact of ensuring access to school meals. “Right now is a time for us all to come together to help each other,” says Simmons. “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/.

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.