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Locals invited to White House

Serving whole wheat bread, skim milk and fruits and vegetables has earned the Andalusia Elementary School’s child nutrition program a trip to a White House reception and an opportunity to rub elbows with First Lady Michelle Obama later this month.

Stephanie Dillard, child nutrition director, said the school earned the distinction by participating in the HealthierUS School Challenge, a program that recognizes schools that improve their school environment with nutritious foods, physical activity and nutrition education.

The efforts at AES earned the school the “gold award of distinction,” a plaque and $2,000, she said. It was the highest level of achievement available, she said.

“This was a huge surprise,” Dillard said of the award. “We’re ecstatic. This is huge honor for the school and the child nutrition employees.”

Dillard said to qualify for the award, the school was required to submit a formal application and requirements set out by the USDA.

“School lunches aren’t what they used to be,” Dillard said. “Now, we serve all whole wheat, 1 percent milk fat or less and healthier alternatives. We provide a lot of nutrition education, sending information home to parents about how to make healthier recipes at home.

“Healthy eating habits start when a child is young, and we work to do our part in making that happen,” she said.

Mrs. Obama is holding the reception on the White House’s south lawn July 29, Dillard said.

Participating in the trip will be AES principal Patty Taylor, Dillard; Bobby Richards, school manager; and Angie Brewer, child nutrition assistant.

The group will leave Thurs., July 28, and return Sat., July 30.