HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Thanks to grants totaling more than $7 million, 288 elementary schools will provide students with fresh fruit and vegetable snacks during the school day, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). According to the press release, the program’s goals are to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expanding the variety of produce for students to experience, increase fruit and vegetable consumption and positively impact students.
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“Healthy, nutritious meals are essential to a child’s growth and success,” Noe Ortega, education secretary, said. “These fresh food grants will help ensure students have access to fresh produce that they may not be introduced to otherwise, while also supporting their physical and academic growth.”
Priority for funding is given to schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Schools that receive grants are required to spend most of their grants on the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables and must develop a plan to establish partnerships for future reductions of other costs.
“The fresh fruit and vegetable program provides young students exposure to fresh fruits and vegetables that may otherwise not have the opportunity, and provides them a healthy snack at the same time,” State Director of Child Nutrition Programs under the Division of Food and Nutrition, Vonda Ramp M.S., R.D, said.
To find out which schools will receive the grants, you can visit their website by clicking here.