North Allegheny High School students are able to reach for a cold bottle of milk or piece of cheese to sustain them during their after-school activities rather than chips and soda.
The school district installed dairy vending machines in the intermediate and senior high schools after receiving a $10,000 grant from the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association.
"We always sold milk and dairy products on the [lunch] line, but you never really had them available during the school day," said Roger Botti, director of transportation and operations.
"We want to offer the best nutritional value to the kids."
The vending machines offer milk, cheese and yogurt, and are being used by students, Mr. Botti said.
"The sales are very good."
North Allegheny also received a $12,300 grant from the dairy association to support its conversion to plastic milk bottles from milk cartons.
The transition began last year as part of the district's "green initiative," Mr. Botti said. "Cartons went into the trash. Plastic bottles are much more recyclable."
He said there has been a "modest increase in sales" since the transition.
"When you go on the grocery store, how many milk cartons do you see anymore," he asked. "Kids are so used to seeing milk in plastic bottles."
Also, he said, the cartons can be hard for younger students to open.
The district also replaced all its point-of-service terminals in the cafeterias in all schools, and is purchasing new tables and booths for the high schools to make the cafeterias more of a "restaurant-type environment," Mr. Botti said.
"We are trying to change the environment. We had samples of the tables and booths at NAI, and the students really love it."
Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: email@example.com. First Published October 10, 2013 1:46 AM