The Makers of Hidden Valley(R) Ranch Dressings Announce Winners of Love Your Veggies(TM) School Lunch Campaign Grants

Nationwide Campaign Rewards $15,000 Grants to Five Schools with Innovative

Ideas for Improving Student Health

Mar 20, 2007, 01:00 ET from Hidden Valley

    OAKLAND, Calif., March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The makers of
 Hidden Valley(R) ranch dressings, today announced the Love Your Veggies(TM)
 Nationwide School Lunch Campaign grant winners. The initiative will provide
 $15,000 grants to five public elementary schools to support programs for
 increased access to, and consumption of, fresh vegetables.
     (Photo: )
     (Photo: )
     Millions of students nationwide consume lunch at school daily. And, for
 many children, it is the most important meal of the day, contributing one-
 third to one-half of their nutritional intake, according to USDA. Studies
 show about 80 percent of children and adolescents do not eat the minimum
 recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. 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.
     "Unfortunately many schools do not have access to fresh fruits and
 vegetables, which makes it hard for students to eat a well-balanced meal,"
 says Lisa Partnoy, marketing manager of Hidden Valley(R) ranch dressings.
 "We created the Love Your Veggies(TM) initiative as a response to Local
 Wellness Policies that went into effect at the start of the school year. A
 moderate amount of ranch dressing helps encourage kids to eat more veggies,
 so we wanted to do something to help schools promote healthy eating. Seeing
 the response to the grant program was wonderful -- the schools that
 submitted applications all demonstrated a commitment to making improved
 nutrition a priority in the lives of their students."
     More than 100 schools across the country applied for the Hidden
 Valley(R) Love Your Veggies(TM) grants, but this school year, only five
 could be chosen as the recipients. The winning grant proposals were chosen
 based on creativity, sustainability, and overall student and faculty
 participation in the program. The Love Your Veggies(TM) grant recipients
     -- Garden City Elementary School (Indianapolis, IN): Plan to install a new
        veggie bar stocked with assorted produce, an expansion of the school
        garden for students to tend, and a new after-school club available to
        all students called "Be Healthy, Be Fit."
     -- Lakeland Elementary School (Humble, TX): Will create Captain Healthy
        Star's Vegetable Garden in their cafeteria, a new veggie bar to be
        stocked with fresh produce, as well as ongoing education on the
        benefits of specific vegetables.
     -- Seahurst Elementary School (Burien, WA): Plan to install a new veggie
        bar to be stocked daily with seasonal produce, a 10-week Food $ense
        CHANGE garden-based nutrition education program, and fun food and
        nutrition activities scheduled throughout the school year.
     -- South Hamilton Elementary School (Jewell, IA): Pledged to get their
        students healthy via "Veggie Victories!" an interactive program
        featuring a veggie bar stocked with fresh produce, a physical activity
        of the month and a veggie of the week, along with a classroom incentive
        program to excite students and encourage involvement.
     -- Victor Herbert Elementary School (Chicago, IL): Plan to introduce a new
        veggie bar that will be stocked with fresh produce, vegetable of the
        month lessons incorporated into classroom lesson plans, and cooking
        demonstrations featuring nutritious produce.
     Additionally, all schools will be implementing a training program on
 nutrition education and food safety, and offer classroom-based nutritional
 studies for the students.
     Hidden Valley(R) Partnering for Success
     Applications for the grants were received from Oct. 22 through Dec. 15,
 2006. Applications were qualified and judged by: Jodie Shield, a registered
 dietitian and complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences
 in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago;
 representatives from the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
 (EFNEP); the School Nutrition Association (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 culinary
 whiz kids Olivia and Isabella Gerasole, hosts of the James Beard
 award-winning cooking Web site
     "When judging the grant applications, we looked for creative and
 innovative ways to enhance cafeteria meals to provide greater access to
 fresh fruits and vegetables," 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. The Hidden Valley grant campaign helps to
 address the significant shortage of produce in children's diets."
     Local school events to celebrate the grant awards will include
 representatives from Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), another
 organization supporting the Love Your Veggies Campaign. PBH 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 daily
     "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 a school salad bar is a great way to do
 this. We praise Hidden Valley for their efforts in making fruits and
 vegetable more accessible in schools and the educational outreach they've
 done to reach thousands of school kids. We are pleased to be partnering
 with them to showcase both their efforts and our new Fruits & Veggies --
 More Matters health initiative."
     The Hidden Valley(R) Love Your Veggies(TM) Nationwide School Lunch
 Campaign was created based on findings from a recent study with two
 Northern California elementary schools conducted by University of
 California at Davis and the EFNEP 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
     Nutrition Awareness Beyond the Lunch Room
     A study presented at the most recent American Dietetic Association 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 Discovery Education, creators of innovative teaching
 materials and resources for students, to distribute thousands of classroom
 kits to elementary schools nationwide and grant recipient schools. Focused
 on the theme of "Super Veggies," students will learn why some foods are
 better than others and how exercise is an important part of any healthful
 eating plan. A micro site with the entire curriculum kit is available at
     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
     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.

SOURCE Hidden Valley