• 55°

I’ve got a Black and Golden ticket

RESERVE — Students in St. John Parish Public Schools have a chance to win autographed Saints gear this month, just by eating free school lunches.

Dairy MAX selected the St. John the Baptist Parish Child Nutrition Department to participate in the Saints Black and Golden Ticket Contest in an effort to increase participation in take-home meal programs implemented to help families through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The effort aligns with National Nutrition Month, observed annually in March. Throughout the month, any scholar who receives a take-home meal (whether through curbside service, home delivery or pick-up on their hybrid day) will have a chance of finding a “black and golden ticket” in their box.

Winning tickets are randomly placed in meal boxes and can be redeemed at the grab & go meal location where the box was received. All tickets must be redeemed by March 31. The following seven prizes are available to St. John Parish students: one autographed Saints football, one Cameron Jordan autographed mini helmet and five Saints swag bags.

Scholars can increase their chances of winning by receiving meals weekly. Winners are encouraged to snap a picture and share the excitement by tagging @DairyMAX, as well as @dairyamazing and @SJBPschools.

School Board President Nia Mitchell said take-home meals are a win-win for families and the St. John Parish Public School District during these unprecedented times.

“Our students are home at least three days a week right now for the hybrid program. We want parents that may already have financial constraints to know that the meals are there,” Mitchell said. “We received a grant under a federal program to have 100 percent of children in our district eat free lunch, so it’s at no cost to parents to get these meals for their children. In the long run it helps the parents financially because they would otherwise have to provide meals for their children the days that they’re home during a hybrid schedule.”

In accordance with the federal program, St. John Parish Public Schools are reimbursed for each meal a student receives.

“It’s a benefit to the district because we have to order based on the number of students we have. We have to plan as if everyone is going to eat,” Mitchell said. “If they don’t eat, we are not serving all of our students, we are not getting the federal reimbursement, and it’s wasteful.”

Meals are available to hybrid students, as well as those who are 100 percent virtual.

Families can sign up for the delivery service to receive a weekly meal box of five breakfasts and five lunches per child. To grant permission for delivery of meals, parents or guardians must complete a separate form for each child.

According to the District website, meal boxes include a combination of fresh bread products, cereal, frozen entrees, pre-portioned fruits and veggies, and milk. Instructions for heating and refrigerating are included.

If no one is home to receive the meals, the meal box will be returned to the schools. Families will be notified by email the day before their delivery. In most cases, food is delivered by a school bus driver between 7 a.m. and noon.

Curbside pick-up for virtual students is also available at the child’s school from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. each Monday.

To sign up for home delivery or curbside meals, please visit www.stjohn.k12.la.us.

This program developed from a partnership between DairyMAX and the NFL. Through DairyMAX’s Fuel Up to Play 60 wellness initiative, NFL stars serve as healthy role models while teaching students about nutrition and physical fitness.

Cam Jordan is the Fuel Up to Play 60 representative for the New Orleans Saints. For more information and resources, visit dairymax.org.