It’s a staple of American households and often tops the grocery list, but for many low-income families, having milk in the refrigerator can be a rarity. According to the Great American Milk Drive, people served by food banks receive less than one gallon per person per year on average. In Oregon, that statistic is changing.
Thanks to an influx of milk provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, the Oregon Food Bank network has been distributing nutritious skim, 1%, 2%, and whole milk every week to local families and individuals. So far, this has totaled nearly 160,000 gallons.
While it is great news, this did pose some challenges due to perishability, refrigeration capacity and logistics. In what they described as ‘a flurry of activity,’ Oregon Food Bank staff welcomed the distribution challenge and overcame stumbling blocks in coordination with Oregon’s 20 regional food banks to get the product in and out to communities as quickly as possible.
“This is a highly valuable and needed product across our region, and we’ve gotten really strong support from our partners in adjusting systems and processes that allow us to accept incredibly high volumes of milk,” said Gretchen Miller, Sourcing and Operations Strategist for Oregon Food Bank. “It’s more than we ever have in the past. What we’re happiest about is that we’re able to get fresh, high quality milk into the food insecure communities we serve.”
This milk provides a temporary supply to meet ongoing demand, and there are still long term needs to be addressed when it comes to fighting hunger in Oregon. You can help make a difference by contributing to the Oregon Food Bank and/or the Great American Milk Drive.
Jason Lee Elementary School in Portland has been recognized with a statewide award for literally “walking the walk” when it comes to championing wellness for students and faculty.
Every Friday morning, rain or shine, Jason Lee Elementary School staff, students and parents walk or run the “Morning Mile” before school. Combined with the school’s physical education program, nutritious cooking classes for students and a community garden, you can start to see some of the many reasons why it was one of the two schools in Oregon to earn a 2019 School Wellness Award.
This award recognizes schools for outstanding school wellness policies, practices and programs that promote healthy student and staff behavior. These schools have implemented evidence-based strategies to encourage student, staff and community health and wellness. These strategies include:
- Providing healthy celebration opportunities
- Scheduling recess before lunch
- Providing breakfast after the bell
- Wellness initiatives for school staff
- Family Night events that get everyone moving
- School gardens
- Healthy cooking programs for families
- Open gym before and after school hours
The Nutrition Council of Oregon and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, the title sponsors for these awards, join the Oregon Department of Education in recognizing these schools. Each award recipient receives a $2,500 cash prize, a banner and a certificate of recognition presented at local school celebrations. Wilson Elementary School in Corvallis joins Jason Lee Elementary as the other 2019 award winner.
The places where we live, work and learn have a big impact on our health. Wellness policies guide school efforts to establish an environment that creates a healthy workplace for staff, and promotes student health, well-being, and ability to learn. All districts are required to have wellness policies in place that meet Oregon’s minimum requirements, but schools can choose to implement stronger policies or additional programs to further support student and staff wellness.