Local elementary schools receive grants to fund healthy snacks

(BOISE) — Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra announced today that 118 Idaho elementary schools are being awarded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grants to fund healthy and nutritious snacks within the school day.

Schools in Southeast Idaho receiving the grant are Aberdeen Elementary, American Falls Intermediate School, Hillcrest Elementary, William Thomas Middle School, Donald D. Stalker Elementary, Fort Hall Elementary, A.W. Johnson Elementary, Downey Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Tendoy Elementary and Washington Elementary.

“I would like to congratulate all of the school buildings receiving this grant for the upcoming year,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “It’s great to see a focus on increasing students’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables to positively impact student health.”

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that allows schools the opportunity to offer children samples of fruits and vegetables. The goal of the program is to give students the opportunity to try more fruits and vegetables, in addition to what is offered in the National School Lunch Program.

The 118 Idaho schools awarded grants this year will use the funding to provide students with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at no charge. This is an effective and creative way of introducing fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snack options. Schools receive reimbursement for providing the fresh fruits and vegetables to all students within the school day, but at a different time than the school meal programs operate.

Through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, many schools offer mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks to students. The healthy snacks are delivered to the classroom, distributed out in the cafeteria or in hallways. Students may be given the opportunity to try Idaho grown fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, corn, cucumbers, grapes, peaches, pears, pluots, pumpkins, tomatoes, and zucchini. Students may also get to try fruits and vegetables that they recognize, but in a different form. For example, many children may not have eaten fresh corn or pineapple spears.

Schools were awarded the grants through a competitive application process. The grant period is from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. To be eligible for this federal grant, the 118 Idaho Schools must have met the following criteria:

· Be an elementary school (eligible students are pre-K through 6th grade)

· Operate the National School Lunch Program

· Have more than 50 percent of students eligible for free/reduced priced meals

· Submit a complete application

For more information about Child Nutrition Programs or the competitive grant application process, please visit http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/cnp/.

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