Positive Message from CEO Tammy Anderson-Wise (April 7) – Less than a month ago, we first saw headlines about COVID-19, and few if any of us could have anticipated the profound disruption it would have on our work, our personal lives and the industry. It is indisputable that what we are living through now has no modern parallel.
But this is where we are. As with many of you, life at Dairy Council of California looks somewhat different. I am proud to share that the Dairy Council of California team has embraced the challenges presented in the current environment. We continue to elevate the health of children and families during this time of need by supporting knowledge of healthy eating, food access and distance learning through school closures.
As previously shared, Dairy Council of California, in partnership with California Milk Processor Board and with the support of local organizations throughout California, is proud to continue to support the statewide effort to nourish children while schools are out with HealthyEating.org/SchoolMeals and HealthyEating.org/AlimentacionEscolar. These dedicated landing pages in English and Spanish comprehensively aggregate all meal program sites available in California. Since the statewide public awareness campaign launched three weeks ago, the landing pages have helped families by educating them on where to access school meals by supporting 124,798 site visits, which includes 104,162 unique views and roughly 32% of viewers seeking information in Spanish, emphasizing the value of this resource to California communities.
To expand food access program support beyond children to include vulnerable families, Dairy Council of California is partnering with the California Association of Food Banks to identify local food banks that are providing families with free healthy foods. We anticipate having this information available on our site later this week and will work with our partner, California Milk Processor Board, to ensure families know where they can go to find the nearest food bank to their home.
We developed and released the blog post “Nutrition and Immunity: The Role of Dairy Foods in Supporting a Healthy Immune System” to reaffirm dairy’s role in healthy eating patterns and in supporting a healthy immune system, a very relevant concern at this time. On a global front, Dairy Council of California provided expertise and support to the International Dairy Federation, informing the development of the 2020 Bulletin on School Milk Programs, titled The Contribution of School Milk Programmes to the Nutrition of Children Worldwide: Edition 2020, which is now available for download.
With shelter-in-place orders, Mobile Dairy Classroom’s in-person assemblies have been suspended; however, this suspension has provided us with an opportunity to innovate and expand our services to reach students and families via a virtual assembly. We are proud to share that on Friday, April 3rd, we successfully launched our first virtual Mobile Dairy Classroom in partnership with Nepris, a free web-based solution that connects teachers with industry experts to make curriculum topics relevant for students every day. Adapted for a live audience and facilitated by Nepris, our Mobile Dairy Classroom was seen by 18,210 students in 669 classes across nine states. This equates to roughly 50 on-site school assemblies! We are working on securing a copy of the live recording, which we will share via our social channels and with all of you.
We are continuing to explore new ways to provide educators, students and families with nutrition resources, such as expanding our portfolio of online and downloadable format resources that communicate the importance of healthy eating patterns and emphasize milk and dairy’s important role in supporting good health. These strategies appear to be highly valuable and so we plan to continue to expand our online portfolio of resources to meet the demand of our consumers.
In addition to supporting school communities, health professionals and families across California, we are here to support you. As concerns around lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) continue to grow, we want to share information on companies that are providing PPE for COVID-19. If you are looking for supplies, here is a link with information on how to access PPE to help ensure everyone’s safety.
If you have questions, concerns or would like to share updates on how your organization is responding to COVID-19, please contact me.
Tammy Anderson-Wise, CEO