BOSTON — On the evening of Thursday, May 9th the Stars Among Us Gala, hosted by New England Dairy & Food Council, was held at the Putnam Club East at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The fundraising gala was held to celebrate the tenth year of Fuel Up to Play 60 in New England and to honor a select group of individuals whose impact on health and wellness in their schools has led to significant changes in the lives of students.
The almost $50,000 raised from the event will be used to expand the reach of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which is supported locally by New England Dairy & Food Council and by the dairy farm families of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and eastern New York.
Expanding the program’s reach translates into more opportunities for schools to start or enhance school meal programs (breakfast or lunch) as well as summer meal programs; increase access to nutritious foods served during the school day; promote physical activity at school; and offer dairy farm-to-school educational experiences and resources to students.
On Thursday, gala-goers had the chance to meet and chat with several special guests, including New England Patriots mascot Pat Patriot and cheerleaders, alumni players Steve Nelson and Pete Brock, and current player Devin McCourty. Devin is a former New England Fuel Up to Play 60 Player Ambassador (2013-2017) and a forever champion of the youth wellness program.
“It gives students a voice to make positive changes in their schools. I was an ambassador for the program for five years not only because it promoted eating well and exercising, but because it empowered students to want to lead healthier lives.” McCourty said of the program.
After dinner, awards were presented to the Stars Among Us Gala honorees. One of these awards went to Bet Howrigan, an educator at Fairfield Center School in Fairfield. Howrigan has been a Fuel Up to Play 60 program advisor for almost nine years and has attended several regional and national program summits. Her support for the program has led to student-driven initiatives, for example an oatmeal breakfast bar and new physical activity programming in the school.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school wellness program that encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy, and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. In the past ten years, this student-led, evidence-based program has helped more than 1.7 million kids and 3,600 schools across the region eat healthier and become more physically active.
–New England Dairy & Food Council