TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher along with former New York Jets Pro Bowl running back Tony Richardson recently honored the Stillwater Township Elementary School in Sussex County in a virtual event as the 2020 “Grand Champion” for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Jets PLAY 60 “Eat Right, Move More” program.
The Jets PLAY 60 “Eat Right, Move More” program, a partnership between the Jets, the Department of Agriculture, and the American Dairy Association North East, encourages New Jersey school children to take advantage of healthy foods in their school cafeterias and become more active.
“The Stillwater School took the initiative of offering students the opportunity to eat more nutritious meals and exercise regularly,” Secretary Fisher said. “This program provides an avenue in developing healthy habits that can last a lifetime. The partnership with the Jets allows schools to create an atmosphere that can be beneficial for now and the future.”
Richardson joined the virtual call with the school for a fun and educational program and presented the school with a $20,000 grant to improve school food service and physical education programs, made possible by the Jets and the American Dairy Association North East. Students from the school were allowed to ask questions during the event after the check presentation.
To view or download video of the school visit please click here.
While Richardson is retired after a 16-year career in the NFL, the two-time All Pro selection emphasized that eating healthy and exercising regularly are still important parts of his everyday routine.
“As a professional athlete it is essential to understand the importance of being in the best shape possible and having a healthy diet,” said Richardson, who retired after the 2010 season. “I have realized since I stopped playing that keeping physically fit and regularly eating fresh fruits and vegetables are key elements in leading a fulfilling life.”
Schools were judged on their outstanding efforts to provide children with fresh produce, healthy foods, nutrition education and opportunities to increase physical activity. They also were required to have at least 100 students participate in the Jets Play 60 Program during which students must log one hour a day of activity for a week.
Stillwater School plans to use the award money for a new commercial dishwasher for its food service that would reduce the amount of water and energy needed for the dish cleaning program and modernize the kitchen and/or cafeteria to make it more attractive and welcoming to students. The physical education department is purchasing a mobile Interactive Play System that consists of a score panel and 10 touch-sensitive spots, equipped with both light and sound. The spots are wirelessly connected to the scoreboard and a variety of games and themes can be played by students in all grade levels. The systems could be used in physical education classes as well as for inside recess.
Two other “Division Champion” schools were awarded $5,000 grants. They were Franklin Township Middle School in Somerset County and Dover High School in Morris County.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, special milk and after-school snack, Seamless Summer Option, Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program to provide meals to children in the Garden State.
–Jeff Wolfe, NJDA