Allegheny, Westmoreland schools get grants for breakfast initiative |

Allegheny, Westmoreland schools get grants for breakfast initiative

Megan Tomasic

Several Westmoreland and Allegheny county schools were awarded grants recently as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s School Breakfast Initiative.

The initiative, which is providing more than 150 schools with grants up to $5,000 this year, is aimed at giving students a healthy breakfast. About $592,000 in grants were given to schools statewide. The program is in its second year.

In Westmoreland County, schools in Penn-Trafford, Derry Area, Greensburg Salem and Hempfield Area districts are set to receive money. In Allegheny County, schools in Shaler Area, Baldwin-Whitehall, Carlyton and Deer Lakes districts also will receive funds.

“A healthy breakfast helps students begin the school day ready to learn and succeed,” Wolf said in an announcement. “By investing in school breakfasts, we are investing in the lives of children. When kids start their day with good nutrition, they’re ready to learn and grow up healthier and stronger.”

The program is aimed at creating an alternative serving method, like grab-and-go or breakfast in the classroom, the release states.

“Students are more focused and in a better position to learn when they start their days with a healthy, nutritious meal,” Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said in a statement. “However, we know that only 50% of the students who receive a free or reduced lunch also receive breakfast. The mini-grants enable schools to address food security issues and help more students by either starting a new breakfast program or by improving an existing one.”

In order to qualify for a grant, schools must be a part of the Local Education Agency and participate in the National School Lunch Program. Funds, which are distributed in August, can be used to purchase equipment, train staff, short-term labor and more.

This isn’t the first initiative Wolf has started regarding food securing and nutrition. In 2015, the Food Security Partnership was established, made up of secretaries from the aging, agriculture, community and economic development, education, health and human services departments. The following year the food security plan was revealed.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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