JOHNSTON — All Iowa schools have the opportunity to receive a new water bottle filling station through the Rethink Your Drink program, funded by the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. Selected schools will have an old drinking fountain replaced with a new Elkay water bottle filling station.
Priority will be given to schools that have one or fewer water bottle filling stations in their school building, and that have a free and reduced price lunch status of 50 percent or greater. However, newly eligible in this fifth round of grants are schools that have already received one Rethink Your Drink grant and may now apply for an additional station. Applications for this program opened on Jan. 5, and will close on Feb. 5. To apply, visit deltadentalia.com/foundation/grants.
“Rethink Your Drink helps us improve the oral and overall health of Iowans by investing in school district infrastructure,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “As we continue to fight COVID-19, it’s more important than ever for students and staff to stay hydrated and as healthy as possible. The benefits of drinking water extend to every part of our body and brain, improving our health with the simple act of filling up our water bottles.”
Water bottle filling stations make drinking water more accessible for students and staff, which is especially important during COVID-19 since traditional water fountains have been shut off to reduce the potential for transmission. Students and staff are able to stay hydrated by filling personal water bottles with optimally fluoridated drinking water throughout the school day.
“More than 50 percent of children and teens in the U.S. are not properly hydrated during the school day, which can impact learning and energy levels,” said Melissa Walker, Iowa school nurse consultant. “Water bottle filling stations help eliminate the need for single-use plastic water bottles while helping students and staff stay hydrated and healthy. The automatic filling function reduces the potential transmission of viruses and bacteria which is incredibly important as we continue our fight against COVID-19 as well as traditional influenza, colds and other viruses.”
This is the fifth round of funding for Rethink Your Drink. Since 2017, the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation has donated more than $1.3 Million to 285 schools throughout Iowa for the Rethink Your Drink program.