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Penn Hills

Grant puts healthy snacks into Penn Hills Elementary School classrooms

Michael DiVittorio
| Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, 12:12 p.m.
Third-graders (from left) Taresa Pizzonia, Chelsea Scott, Madison Davis and Rico Trapp sample sweet, juicy clementines at Penn Hills Elementary School.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Third-graders (from left) Taresa Pizzonia, Chelsea Scott, Madison Davis and Rico Trapp sample sweet, juicy clementines at Penn Hills Elementary School.

Penn Hills Elementary School students are enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of a federal grant to provide children with healthy snacks.

The school district received $71,160 through the Department of Agriculture's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The grant is being used to provide snacks three days a week for some 1,200 children at the elementary school through May.

The snacks include 2-ounce servings of things like strawberries, pineapples, carrots, celery, pears and bananas.

“I like to think of it as a food experience,” food services director Tammi Davis said. “One bite is all we ask. We'll hopefully do this in years to come.”

Elementary cafeteria manager Angie Rodden coordinates with teachers and administrators to make sure all students receive the snacks in their classrooms.

“Our kids really enjoy it,” Rodden said. “It provides another item for them and they look forward to it.”

Students are also given a food fact sheet to learn about what they're eating. For instance, a serving of sugar snap peas would include a handout saying they grow on a vine and are a cross between garden and snow peas.

Davis visited third-grade teacher Barbara Sparcie-Jackson's class when they were about to enjoy some clementines.

“I think it's good you bring snacks for the kids so we can taste the vegetables and fruits,” third-grader Jasaun English-McDonald said.

Jasaun, 10, said he likes fruit more than vegetables, but both “will get the kids healthier.”

Zaniah Adams, 7, said her favorite fruit is apples.

“They're juicy and sweet,” she said. “You could eat something else bad for your body, but fruits and vegetables are not bad for your body.”

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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