CHICAGO, July 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The makers of Hidden Valley(R) ranch
dressings, owned by The Clorox Company (NYSE: CLX), today announced it will
be awarding more than a half million dollars in grants next year to
elementary schools nationwide to support increased access to, and
consumption of, fresh vegetables during lunch. The grant program - the Love
Your Veggies(TM) Nationwide School Lunch Campaign - was created to help
schools implement a recent federally mandated local wellness policy that
requires schools to develop and execute programs to improve their students'
overall health and nutrition, and in response to the overwhelming shortage
of funds available for the execution of these programs.
Today at the School Nutrition Association's Annual National Conference
in Chicago, Hidden Valley, along with its partners the School Nutrition
Association (SNA) and its foundation and Produce for Better Health
Foundation (PBH), announced it will provide $10,000 grants to 51 elementary
schools in the United States - one grant per state plus an additional grant
to a school in Oakland, Calif., Clorox's hometown. Beginning Aug. 1,
schools can visit www.LoveYourVeggiesGrants.com to get more information on
the grant program and complete an online application.
The Love Your Veggies campaign began as a pilot program last year,
awarding grants totaling $90,000 to six schools nationwide. But with last
year's grant submissions came an outcry from schools, validating the need
for help to fund nutrition programs.
"As we read the grant applications last year, we realized the need for
fresh vegetables in schools was even greater than we thought. Many students
across the nation do not have access to fresh vegetables on a daily or even
weekly basis," says Kristin Wonzen, marketing manager of Hidden Valley.
"This year we are excited to expand our Love Your Veggies grant program to
make a difference for at least one school in every state. In addition to
providing better nutrition during school lunch time, we also are hoping to
educate kids on the importance of vegetables in their diet."
Supporting the Veggie Cause
Millions of students nationwide consume a meal at school daily and, for
many children, school lunch is the most important meal of the day,
contributing one-third to one-half of their nutritional intake, according
to USDA. With the significance of lunch in a student's diet and childhood
obesity levels continuing to rise, schools are an integral source to ensure
kids are getting the right foods each day.
No one knows this more than Hidden Valley's partners -SNA, a national,
non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members
who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country,
and PBH, which recently renamed its healthy eating campaign from the
well-known "5 A Day" to "Fruits and Veggies - More Matters,(TM)" a more
inspiring health initiative focusing on motivating people to simply eat
more fruits and veggies
at every eating occasion because they are not getting enough in their
"In order to meet the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, most kids need to more
than double their current intake of fruits and vegetables," states
Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of PBH. "We know from our previous
work with schools that offering funding for fresh vegetables is a great way
to do this."
"Schools nationwide are trying to implement creative ways to get their
kids to eat their veggies, yet simply lack the funds to do so," says Janey
Thornton, president of the SNA. "Increased produce consumption is
instrumental in improving a child's long-term health and can help with
weight control, decreasing risk of heart disease, some types of cancer and
diabetes and providing fiber, potassium and other important nutrients. We
praise Hidden Valley for their efforts in making an impact on thousands of
Nutrition Awareness Beyond the Lunch Room
A study presented at the 2006 American Dietetic Association's Food and
Nutrition Conference and Exhibition found that students may not necessarily
eat more vegetables by virtue of the salad bar alone if the changes in the
cafeteria are not supported by nutrition education in the classroom.
Researchers at Loyola University and the University of Illinois at Chicago
found that salad bar use soars when teachers support the new cafeteria
addition with lessons on nutrition.
To address this issue, the makers of Hidden Valley(R) ranch dressings
have partnered with Weekly Reader Custom Publishing, creators of innovative
teaching materials and resources for students, to distribute classroom kits
to 30,000 elementary schools nationwide. Focused on the theme "Vegetables
and You," students will learn about the importance of eating vegetables to
maintain a healthy lifestyle through cross-curricular activities for grades
1 through 6 that include math, language arts, and science.
A History of Help
The Hidden Valley(R) Love Your Veggies(TM) Nationwide School Lunch
Campaign also was created based on findings from a 2006 study with two
Northern California elementary schools conducted by the University of
California Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Butte
County Cooperative Extension. One of the most significant findings from the
study was that children consumed 23 percent more vegetables when paired
with a moderate amount of ranch dressing.
And the benefits of a moderate amount of ranch dressing may go beyond
helping to increase veggie consumption. A study conducted at Iowa State
University found that certain vitamins and cancer-fighting compounds found
in fruits and vegetables are fat-soluble. This study suggests that some
moderate amount of fat may help the body adequately absorb nutrients.(1)
The 2007 Love Your Veggies pilot program provided grant money and a
salad bar to six elementary schools nationwide: Garden City Elementary
School in Indianapolis; Lakeland Elementary in Humble, Texas; Seahurst
Elementary in Burien, Wash.; South Hamilton Elementary in Jewell, Iowa;
Victor Herbert Elementary in Chicago, Ill. and Sequoia Elementary in
This year's grant funds will be used toward the implementation of a
creative and sustainable vegetable consumption program, fresh produce,
program staffing, a training course for school personnel given by SNA
representatives on how to create a healthy and nutritious environment in
school, and nutrition education supplies.
Applying for a Grant
All interested schools must apply for a Love Your Veggies grant online
at www.LoveYourVeggiesGrants.com. Schools can apply for a grant beginning
Aug. 1, and applications will be accepted through Nov. 30, 2007. Grant
recipients will be selected by representatives of Hidden Valley, SNA and
PBH, and announced in March 2008 during National Nutrition Month.
About Hidden Valley(R)
The HV Food Products Company is a subsidiary of The Clorox Company,
headquartered in Oakland, Calif. Clorox is a leading manufacturer and
marketer of consumer products with fiscal year 2006 revenues of $4.6
billion. With 7,600 employees worldwide, the company manufactures products
in two dozen countries and markets them in more than 100 countries. For
more information about Clorox, visit www.TheCloroxCompany.com.
About the School Nutrition Association
The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional
organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide
high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The
Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and
nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted
exclusively to protecting and enhancing children's health and well being
through school meals and sound nutrition education.
About Produce for Better Health Foundation
Produce for Better Health Foundation is a 16-year old nonprofit
organization whose mission is to motivate people to eat more fruits and
vegetables for a healthier America. The foundation is co-chair and member
of the National Partnership, consisting of government agencies, nonprofit
organizations, and industry working in collaboration to expand nationwide
efforts to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables for improved
Their new initiative, Fruits & Veggies-More Matters(TM), replaces the 5
A Day Program and is created to help Americans overcome common everyday
barriers to eating fruits and veggies. These include differing tastes
within a family, not knowing how to prepare them or keep them fresh, or
simply not liking them. For more information on Produce for Better Health
Foundation and the Fruits and Veggies - More Matters program, visit
(1) Brown, M. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004).
SOURCE Hidden Valley