GENYOUth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating healthier school communities, created its COVID-19 Emergency School Meal Delivery Fund to help feed the nation's kids during this unprecedented global pandemic.
Through partnerships across the public and private sectors and the support of civic-minded companies, including Domino's and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), GENYOUth's response to the pandemic has been focused on the 30 million children who rely on school meals (including milk, whole grain, fruits, vegetables and protein, including cheese and yogurt) for their daily nourishment.
In Michigan, a $75,000 donation from Domino's has affected 35 high-need schools where 60% of students qualify for the free or reduced-cost meal programs. In addition, they delivered 3,600 fresh pizzas to food banks in Flint, providing at-risk families with a nourishing meal.
"At Domino's, we have a strong belief in giving back to the communities that support our business, our employees and their families," says Russell Weiner, Domino's chief operating officer and president of the Americas. "At this time of great need, it is a privilege to work with GENYOUth and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan to lend our support to help feed our nation's kids."
"Over 100 schools across Michigan benefited from this partnership between Michigan dairy farmers, Domino’s and GENYOUth,” says Melissa Gerharter, UDIM executive director of youth wellness programs. “We are incredibly grateful for the support to help schools with meal distribution and delivery resources. Michigan dairy farmers are committed to working with partners to provide resources that ensure Michigan youth receive the nutritious meals they need, including milk.”
While 124,000 U.S. schools were closed for classroom learning, 95% of schools engaged in emergency meal assistance. The assistance continued through the summer. With schools across the nation taking different approaches to the 2020-21 school year, they will once again provide school meals for students during the pandemic.
Leading into the pandemic, 1 in 6 kids lived in food insecurity, but today that number is estimated to be closer to 1 in 4 — an increase of 20%.
GENYOUth's COVID-19 Emergency School Meal Delivery Fund was created to help schools feed their students by providing grants of up to $3,000 and in-kind donations, so school nutrition professionals can safely feed their students.
While the federal government continues to support school meal programs, there are countless additional expenses involved in getting meals to students — safety and sanitation equipment, serving and packaging of materials for grab-and-go meals, cold storage and refrigeration for the safe transportation of food, and rolling carts for curbside service. These costs are incremental to the school's nutrition budget and are critical to delivering school meals outside of the cafeteria.
"We're true believers that 1+1+1 is far greater than 3 — no one of us can do it alone," says Alexis Glick, chief executive officer, GENYOUth. "I am grateful for the community leaders of UDIM and the generosity of Domino's and its employees as each day we are making strides with donations and contributions from our nation's top corporations, foundations and organizations — including our founding partner America's Dairy Farmers — to help feed our nation's kids. Domino's $75,000 donation is at the forefront of helping communities in need.”
To learn more about GENYOUth's "For Schools' Sake — Help Us Feed Our Nation's Kids" effort, visit and consider donating at genyouthnow.org/donate, or text SCHOOLS to 20222 to make a one-time $25 donation.