MFL MarMac continues support of Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

MFL MarMac will continue support of the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative next year. Through the program, which serves Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek Counties, representatives work with school districts’ wellness committees, teachers, food service and administrators to improve each school’s food, fitness and wellness policies.

Elementary principal Kathy Koether, who discussed the program at the May 9 school board meeting, said MFL MarMac first received a coordinator around five years ago. The individual served several schools and the position was initially funded with help from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food & Community Program. Several years ago, school districts began supplying financial support, as well. MFL MarMac did not have a coordinator last year, but was able to get one this year—Brandi Crozier. She serves just MFL MarMac.

 “It was nice to have it back this year,” Koether said. “We missed it.”

Crozier, like previous Food and Fitness representatives, heads up a variety of initiatives at school, including introducing students to new foods through regular taste tests, bringing healthy foods into the lunchroom, managing the school gardens, helping kids learn about bike safety (bike rodeos) and transportation to school (walking school buses) and developing the district wellness plan.

“It’s a good thing,” Koether said. “It hits the entire school.”

School board member Jonathon Moser said he’s seen positive changes at MFL MarMac since  the district began involvement with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative.

“We’ve come a long way on focusing where we want to take the kids and the school,” Moser said in regard to wellness initiatives.

Athletic training

Athletic director Tom Oppelt recommended the district sign a contract with North Iowa, which works under Medical Associates of Elkader and Monona, for athletic training services. The district has been served through the Winneshiek Medical Center.

The North Iowa trainer, said Oppelt, will serve just MFL MarMac, rather than several schools, and be available to students after school, rather than just in the middle of the day. Should the need arise, many students will also get to work with their regular doctors, he said, because of the relationship with Medical Associates.

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