Meridian and Ustick Elementaries Receive Fresh Produce Grant
July 20, 2017 – Meridian and Ustick elementary school students will receive supplemental fresh fruit and vegetables this year thanks to a grant provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Students will consume the fresh produce for mid-morning or a mid-afternoon snack throughout the school year.
“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program provides exposure to a variety of fruits and veggies that may not be typical in many households, like purple and yellow carrots, dragon fruit, bite-sized kiwi, and blood oranges,” Meridian Elementary Principal Marcus Myers explained.
The National School Lunch Act, section 19, outlines the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program funding the grants for fresh produce at schools throughout the country. Eligibility for grant funds includes more than 50 percent of the student population receiving free or reduced price school lunches, and a detailed implementation plan including other efforts for healthy lifestyle education.
“Our healthy lifestyle education takes place in health/PE classes and through family and community involvement events that focus on healthy lifestyle choices,” Myers shared. “These events include goal-setting walking track celebrations with the City of Meridian and Mayor Tammy de Weerd, Jump Rope for Heart, and Kicks for Kids. Our classrooms also plant and harvest vegetables in our community garden, and often donate these to the Meridian Food Bank.”
Ustick Elementary currently has 61 percent of students receiving free or reduced price school lunches, the highest in West Ada School District. Meridian Elementary has the second highest, with 54 percent of their students receiving the assistance. While Meridian Elementary has received this grant previously, Ustick Elementary will be participating for the first time.
“Busy minds require nutritious food. Fresh fruits and vegetables help give students that needed boost of energy to be engaged in learning every day,” Ustick Elementary Principal Jason Newell said. “Eating right will lead to less absenteeism due to illness and promote a healthy lifestyle. It is important we teach young kids healthy habits to avoid the pitfalls of poor choices later in life.”
State of Idaho Department of Education: “113 Idaho Schools to Receive Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grants”
National School Lunch Act, Section 19 begins on page 109 of the linked document.