PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently announced that 252 schools in the Commonwealth will receive funding to provide fruits and vegetables to students. Nearly $7.5 million in grant funding will be awarded under the federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). This funding is in addition to the universal free breakfast program.
“In order to learn, grow, and achieve, children need access to healthy food options,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program will help learners across the Commonwealth access nutritious foods and create healthy habits—at no cost to their families—that will benefit them both in the classroom and at home.”
Under the program, selected schools receive reimbursement for the cost of making free fresh fruits and vegetables available to students during the school day. These fresh fruits and vegetables must be provided separately from the lunch or breakfast meal, in one or more areas of the school during the school day.
The goal of FFVP is to introduce children to fresh fruits and vegetables, to include new and different varieties, and to increase overall acceptance and consumption of fresh, unprocessed produce. Additionally, the program promotes nutrition education, resulting in healthier school environments for learners.
To be eligible, schools must participate in the National School Lunch Program. FFVP prioritizes schools with the highest percentage of children eligible for free and reduced-price meals in order to give children from low-income families more opportunities to consume fresh produce on a regular basis.