CC Vending, one of the largest vending service providers to the New York City public schools, plans to introduce its Drink Accountability Program (DAP) in each school beverage vending machine. Parents would have the ultimate say in what and how often their children purchase drinks. CC Vending will provide all 1,400-plus schools in the New York City public school system.
In 2009 the company removed all the sugary drinks from school vending machines. The company now provides water and flavored water. This was a result of a New York City mandate. The idea was that if kids are only offered healthy drinks, they will only drink healthy drinks. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Mike Cascione, president of CC Vending in New York, N.Y., said that because children have discretionary money of their own, offering only healthy drinks in the machines has not stopped kids from buying or drinking their favorite sugar-laden drinks, Cascione noted. It only prevents buying them from the school vending machines. Kids are still drinking surgery soft drinks which they purchase within a block from the schools.
Cascione feels there is another way to approach the situation: Make parents accountable for their kid’s choices. “Parents want to be friends with their kids,” he said in a prepared statement. “It’s time for them to step up and say no to what their children want, and begin to dictate what they need. The DAP program will do this.”
The DAP program will allow a parent to create an account for each child and put in a specified amount of money for drinks. For instance, a Gatorade, which is one of the proposed new drinks that kids request. A parent can go on-line, with their credit or debit card put enough money on their child’s account to purchase one drink (of their choosing) every day, every other day, once a week, whatever they determine to be the best choice for their child. The student will then put in their pin code at the machine and get their drink.
Vending machines are allowed in schools because they are a source of income for extracurricular activities. A portion of each drink purchased goes directly back to each school. Additionally, CC Vending Inc. sponsors both the CHAMPS (Cooperative, Healthy, Active, Motivated, and Positive Students) and PSAL (Public School Athletic Leagues) to the tune of several million dollars each year. While restricting surgery drinks and changing children’s diets are a major part of the fight to end obesity, activity is a necessary component as well. With school sports, like football, soccer, basketball and others, children have the opportunity to get up and get moving. Without these sponsorships, many of the programs would not be feasible. And many of the children have no other form of organized sports in which to participate.
“I know that Mayor Bloomberg is trying to change adult’s habits by limiting the size of drinks, where drinks are sold throughout the city, but to change a nation, the change must start with the kids, not with 60-year olds who has a lifetime of habits. It’s just like with smoking: Change the kids and they will help change their parents.” Cascione said.
CC Vending believes in this concept so strongly they will put this computerized program into every school in the New York City public school system at no cost to the school. CC Vending will also provide information and training for school personnel who can distribute it to the parents through written materials, school assemblies or Parent-Teacher meetings.
Cascione said, “It’s time to make parents accountable for their kid’s choices. DAP will do just that.”