With nearly 13 million students in the United States regularly attending school hungry, one in six children can’t perform at their full potential in the classroom because they lack consistent access to affordable, nutritious foods. Recognizing the need to bring attention to food insecurity, Sun-Maid® is working with the National School Boards Association (NSBA), the leading advocate for public education, to help nutrition become a more important focus in schools and among educators.
As a leading better-for-you snacking company and the first food brand to join forces with the NSBA, Sun-Maid will work collaboratively toward providing all students access to the greater nutritional resources to help establish a more uniform foundation for equity in the learning environment.
“We know it can be challenging to ensure children are eating their healthiest each and every day, which is why we’re tackling nutrition through our commitment to delivering snacks that kids crave and parents approve,” said Harry Overly, Sun-Maid's CEO and President. “Through our relationship with the NSBA, we’re excited to have a direct impact in schools by arming K-12 students with better choices today and educating them on how to make those same decisions tomorrow. We look forward to changing the way schools think about nutrition together.”
Aside from traditional sponsorship efforts, the collaboration represents a passion for developing a larger platform for the cause of nutrition – and the ways in which it influences the whole child. “It’s easy for us to compartmentalize ‘nutrition’ in very functional terms and forget that it is part of a much larger and thematic element for today’s student,” states Sun-Maid’s Alicia Vasquez, Director of Food Service & School Nutrition. “The more that we have engaged with school nutrition experts, Board Members and those in our communities, we see this as so much more than simply ‘eating healthy.’ We know that when students are getting the nutrition they need, performance improves. Similarly, if they are being fed nutritiously, we know that we’re creating environments that foundationally address the most core needs of equity in learning. This is going to be an exciting journey for us as a brand because we’re using our platform to elevate awareness and educate this year. And, we’re excited to bring Board Members and other education industry professionals along on that journey. This is a platform we all can get behind.”
Sun-Maid products are Smart Snack approved, meaning they meet or exceed nutritional guidelines created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They are also made with whole fruit and have no added sugar, powering students with high quality, minimally processed options for school lunches, after school programs and food insecurity platforms.
Sun-Maid’s collaboration with the NSBA includes providing nutrition-based expert commentary to articles featured in NSBA’s ASBJ Brief publication. The brand is also identifying potential initiatives with NSBA around STEM/STEAM, food insecurity and policy change to make a difference for America’s public school students.
“School boards have an important role in educating students about the importance of nutrition,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director and CEO. “By working with a timeless and trusted voice like Sun-Maid, which shares our interest in helping students establish a healthy diet that will serve them well during their life, we can help students by drawing their attention to this significant issue.”
To learn more about the Sun-Maid® commitment, please contact Alicia Vasquez (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and to join in the cause.
Full of challenge and change, 2020 was like no other year. NSBA's State of the Association provides a snapshot of the association's advocacy and member services work as well as our ongoing transformation.