COATESVILLE, PA — Five elementary schools in the Coatesville Area School District will receive funding to provide students with fresh fruits and vegetables, state Senator Andy Dinniman said.
Caln Elementary School, East Fallowfield Elementary School, Kings Highway Elementary School, Rainbow Elementary School, and Reeceville Elementary School are part of the more than 230 schools statewide selected to receive $7 million in total grant funding through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).
FFVP provides students with a fresh fruit or vegetable snack at school during the school day to increase their consumption of healthy foods, exposure to a variety of fruits, and vegetables and promote a healthier school environment.
“Healthy, consistent, and nutritional meals are one of the key foundations of a student’s growth, development and well-being, and are integral to learning,” Dinniman, who serves as Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “With these grants, many schools will be better equipped to assist their students’ nutritional needs.”
The program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, was first implemented in Pennsylvania in 2004 and expanded to all 50 states in 2008. The 2008 Farm Bill also expanded the program, which was previously only available to 25 schools in Pennsylvania, to many more schools within the Commonwealth.
The number of schools selected each year is based upon federal funding. Participation is limited to elementary schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program with free and reduced eligibility rates at or above 50%.
Funding priority is given to the schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Grantees are required to spend a majority of their grant on the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables and must develop a plan to establish partnerships to reduce other costs.
Schools are also required to provide nutrition education to students but cannot use FFVP funding to purchase nutrition education materials.
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