Maryview Elementary students in Joan Erlandson’s grade four class raise their mild cartons as they celebrate the school’s 25 years of participation in the School Milk Program on Monday.

Maryview Elementary students in Joan Erlandson’s grade four class raise their mild cartons as they celebrate the school’s 25 years of participation in the School Milk Program on Monday.

A very Moo-ving program

Two Central Alberta schools are celebrating 25 years with a provincewide milk program.

Two Central Alberta schools are celebrating 25 years with a provincewide milk program.

Maryview School in Red Deer and Iron Ridge Elementary in Blackfalds have been signed up with Club Moo, a school program encouraging students to drink milk at lunch, since 1989.

The program, ran by the non-profit organization Alberta Milk, is also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

“It’s a real milestone showing the schools have been long committed to providing kids a healthy drink at lunch,” said Melinda Falkenberg-Poetz, marketing communications co-ordinator for Alberta Milk.

“Schools are pressed to the max in this day and age and it’s hard for teachers, volunteers to find the time to do something extra. This program really relies on the staff that take the extra step to supply it so it is something to be saluted.”

Club Moo schools offer white and/or chocolate milk multiple times a week.

The school is in charge of arranging the delivery and purchase of milk, which is sold to students at cost or a reduced rate, Falkenberg-Poetz said.

Incentives are provided for every school or classroom that registers with Club Moo, such as a parachute for gym class.

Smaller incentives from Alberta Milk are handed out to every participant after each purchase.

“It’s important to us for the kids to have nutrition,” said Theresa Paul, an education assistant at Iron Ridge. Paul has been in charge of the school’s milk program, which takes place twice a week, for the past six years.

Iron Ridge sells their cartons of milk, ordered from Blackfalds Family Foods, for $1 each.

According to Paul, over 200 students buy the milk every time it’s offered. That represents more than half the school’s population.

While the program’s numbers have been declining slightly over the past five years, said Falkenberg-Poetz, there are 431 Club Moo schools across Alberta, 11 of which are in Red Deer.

For more information about Club Moo, visit www.moreaboutmilk.com.