New Jersey Department of Agriculture Douglas Fisher and representatives from the New York Jets pro football team visited Ocean Township Intermediate School in early May to honor the school as the grand prize recipient of the ag department’s Jets Play 60 “Eat Right, Move More” program.
The program is a partnership between the Jets, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the American Dairy Association North East, and encourages children to eat healthy foods available in their school cafeterias and to be more active, according to a news release.
“This partnership with the Jets has encouraged schools to do more to provide healthy food choices for students and allowed them the opportunity to get more exercise,” Secretary Fisher said in the release. “We applaud Ocean Township Intermediate School for going that extra mile to ensure that children have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods.”
New York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland visited the school for a fun educational program and presented school officials with a $20,000 grant to improve school foodservice and physical education programs, made possible by the Jets and the American Dairy Association North East, according to the release.
Judging criteria for participating schools included outstanding efforts to provide children with fresh produce, healthy foods, nutrition education and opportunities to increase physical activity. Another requirement was for at least 100 students to participate in the Jets Play 60 Program, which includes logging one hour a day of activity for a week.
Ocean Township Intermediate School offers fresh fruits and vegetables at lunch and also as a healthy snack at least three times a week, and had more than 100 students complete the Jets Play 60 program, according to the release.
The school plans to use the $20,000 grant for new foodservice equipment to allow it to store more grab-and-go salads and fruit bowls and add to its vegetable bar, and also for new athletic equipment, with plans for a school garden in the works as well, according to the release.
Two other New Jersey schools were division champions of the “Eat Right, Move More” program, each receiving $5,000 grants: Patrick M. Villano School in Emerson and Rahway High School.