Kiski Area East Primary School lands $26,700 fresh fruits and vegetables grant
The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Kiski Area East Primary School in the Kiski Area School District a $26,700 grant to provide students with fresh fruits and vegetables for the 2019-20 school year.
The program provides students with a fresh fruit or vegetable snack during the school day to increase their consumption of healthy foods.
For at least the last six years, Kiski Area Primary has received the grant, which is based on the ratio of low-income students. Participation is limited to elementary schools in the National School Lunch Program with free and reduced eligibility rates at or above 50% of student population.
Fresh vegetables or fruits are plated and served up as an early afternoon snack daily for students and distributed in the classrooms, according to school officials.
The Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program was created federally a decade ago, with an early pilot project conducted in Pennsylvania.
The program’s goals are to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices and expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables students can experience.
Grant recipients are required to spend a majority of their grant money on the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables and must develop a plan to establish partnerships to reduce other costs.
The number of schools selected each year is based on federal funding, according to Pennsylvania Department of Education, which administers the USDA program.
“When our children eat healthy, it benefits their overall well-being,” said state Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Washington Township, who announced the grant. “Studies continue to show that students are better prepared to learn when they have access to healthy food choices during the day, and this program serves as an additional way to help address food insecurity within our schools and also provide an opportunity for youngsters to make healthier food choices.”
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .