Lost nutrition for want of an outlet



What do you do with a school board and a superintendent when you give them something valuable and they turn it down?

They received a grant worth $1,000 toward a machine that would vend pint-size bottles of flavored cold milk in October 2003. This machine had the potential to give them profits and teach students healthy habits for a lifetime.

The American Dairy Association offered this grant toward a machine that costs $3,800. One hundred and fifty machines have been placed and 149 of them are profitable. One machine in Strongsville produced $11,000 in five months (Plain Dealer May 17, 2004).

At the Grand Valley Local Schools board meeting June 21, I told them there were only 30 grants left out of 100. They want to wait until the new school is open. The grants won’t be around then.

They conveniently pulled out their projected food service budget for next year and said it was $10,000 in the red. Anyone knows a projected budget can reflect anything they want it to; what is really important is the bottom line from last year and previous years’ budgets.

When I said I had a solution and gave examples of success in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio with these machines, they switched their excuse to infrastructure (lack of an electrical outlet). With at least four Coke machines plugged in at present, I felt this was a lame excuse. If they really wanted to plug in another machine, they would find a way.

Prior to October 2003, soda pop was flowing from cola machines at lunchtime like the Grand River. Our school board never attempted to stop it. The consumption occurred as long as our students had money in their pockets.

The medical community across America put pressure on the cola companies to stop serving it and now it is prohibited at lunch. In some states like California it is illegal for school systems to sell soda to students.

In one community, the milk machine was completely paid for by local professionals. Dentists and doctors know the value of milk in a child’s life and wanted to support it.

Is it better to support local dairy farmers or the Coca Cola Bottling Company based in Atlanta, Ga.? If our food service is operating in the red, how long has this been going on, which board member has investigated why and what is the solution? Is it a shared responsibility of the parents and the school to supply a healthy diet to all students? Who among you really thinks that lack of an outlet is the real problem?

I get very frustrated when I see things at our school system that could easily be improved or changed and nothing ever happens.

Cheryl Hammon

Windsor, Ohio


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