Nutrition is critical for children, as is access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Grants worth $7 million will provide 288 Pennsylvania elementary schools fresh fruits and vegetables to students.
These funds come through the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Program. The priority for this funding will go toward the schools that have the highest rates of students currently receiving free or reduced-price meals in schools. Schools often provide breakfast and lunch for eligible students. These programs cut down on food insecurity, childhood obesity, and poor health as do these on GrantWatch. The money is earmarked for buying fresh fruits and vegetables, developing partnerships and cutting costs.
“Healthy, nutritious meals are essential to a child’s growth and success,” Education Secretary Noe Ortega 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.”
How Giving Access To Fresh Fruits and Veggies Can Help Students
The USDA’s nutrition program has a few key goals:
- Create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices
- Expand the variety of fruits and vegetables students experience
- Increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and positively impact students’ present and future health
The program started in the state of Pennsylvania and now exists in all 50 states. Through this program, schools need to provide proper nutrition education to students.
“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,” said Vonda Cooke Ramp, Pennsylvania State Director of Child Nutrition Programs under the Division of Food and Nutrition, M.S., R.D. “We are delighted to provide this opportunity to the awarded schools.”
A full list of schools awarded grant funds can be found here.
Providing meals to students, especially during the pandemic, was absolutely critical to combatting food insecurity. For many students, these may be the only meals they receive. Programs like this ensure that students are getting enough nutritious food. This can affect both academic performance and behavior. GrantWatch features categories for both elementary education as well as nutrition grants. Sign up for a paid GrantWatch subscription to gain access to all of our helpful grant-seeking resources.