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|03-28-03: Fresh straight from the dairy
|By MARGIE WUEBKER
The Daily Standard
MARIA STEIN - Got milk?
The answer is "Yes" at Marion Local High School. And it comes
in interesting flavors like strawberry, light chocolate, Hershey chocolate, cookies and
cream and, last but not least, two varieties of good 'ol white.
A new milk vending machine took up residence in the commons area last
month, offering students access to a refreshing and nutritious beverage whenever thirst
"I think one of the basketball players turned out to be the first
customer," Superintendent Andy Smith said. "He put in two bucks, got two milks
and drank both of them down in nothing flat. We should have made him our poster boy."
Bestsellers thus far appear to be cookies and cream, which is the
consistency of a milkshake, and strawberry, according to food service supervisor Viola
Mescher. Students can use the machine throughout the day. However, she believes sales may
be slowest during the lunch period since a carton of milk comes with each meal.
The school district received a $1,000 milk vending machine grant from
the American Dairy Association. Other donors quickly stepped forward. They included the
Marion Young Farmers, $1,000, and Mercer Landmark, Land O' Lakes and local veterinarian
Dr. Mark Hardesty, $500 each.
The $4,000 machine ended up costing the district just $500 thanks to
their generosity. The milk vending machine grant is part of the association's dairy
promotion checkoff program. Schools serving grades 6-12 are eligible to apply for the
$1,000 grant, with a limit of two awarded per district.
"We initially discussed where to put the machine," Smith
said. "We came up with two prime reasons why it should go to the high school."
The plastic bottles contain 16 ounces, considerably more than most
elementary students drink in one setting. Also, high school students tend to have more
spending money than younger children. The new milk offering costs $1, which is comparable
to soft drinks and bottled water offered in another school vending machine.
Junior Amber Staugler likes the commons location because it's on the
way to class. The 2 percent white offering is her favorite because it contains less fat
than the 3.5 percent.
"I used to drink more pop but I've switched to milk," she
said. "It's better for you."
Fellow junior Andy Schulze is a confirmed milk lover, maintaining
"it gets my day started." He makes a beeline to the machine shortly after
arriving at school for a bottle of cookies and cream.
Smith said flavors were chosen based on recommendations from Reinhard
Dairy of Fort Recovery, the school's dairy products supplier.
"They recommended products that sell well in convenience
stores," he added. "The feeling was if something like banana-flavored milk did
not sell in a store, it would not sell here at the high school."
Junior Dana Prenger, who admits to drinking significantly more milk
since the machine's installation, would like a peach flavor. Other suggestions from her
counterparts include orange, apple and banana.
"Milk vending machines offer kids the drink they have been craving
served cold and in appealing flavors," said Janna Mennetti, registered dietitian for
the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council Mid East.
Scott Higgins, ADADC Mid East chief executive officer, agrees
wholeheartedly. "By serving as a catalyst to increase milk vending sales in schools,
we're helping to increase overall demand for milk products."
The philosophy certainly seems to be working at Marion Local.
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