Schools line up for calcium burst

THOSE WERE THE DAYS: Milk was free in schools between 1937 and 1967.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS: Milk was free in schools between 1937 and 1967.

A thirst for calcium has seized schools throughout the Manawatu region - milk will be delivered to more than 50 schools that have rushed to sign up to a free programme.

Dairy giant Fonterra is behind the nationwide Milk For Schools programme announced in December and set to be rolled out in the new school year.

In the Manawatu-Whanganui region 54 schools have expressed interest in the programme, representing 6587 children who will be eligible to drink milk free every school day.

Nationwide, more than 520 schools have already registered their interest, representing around 88,000 primary school-aged children coming from about a quarter of New Zealand's eligible schools.

Fonterra spokeswoman Carly Robinson said the programme was in its early stages but schools had clamoured to sign up.

"Within minutes of the news spreading our team started receiving expressions of interest from schools and we've even had a number flow in over the Christmas break, despite schools now being closed," she said.

Ms Robinson said it was good to see schools displaying an appetite for nutrition.

"Milk is an important building block for good nutrition and we want Kiwis to grow up drinking milk because it's good for them."

While the beginning date for Fonterra's Milk for Schools programme has yet to be confirmed for the Manawatu region, the service will start in the South Island toward the end of term one.

The programme is expected to be in place in all schools in New Zealand that want to take part by the end of term one next year.

Manawatu Standard