West Chester, Pa (August 31, 2022) – Five elementary schools in the Coatesville Area School District will receive more than $163,000 in total funding to provide students with fresh fruit and vegetable snacks during the school day, U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan and state Senator Carolyn Comitta said today.
The grant funds, provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) and administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, are as follows:
- Caln Elementary School will receive $29,540
- East Fallowfield Elementary School will receive $24,920
- Kings Highway Elementary School will receive $35,000
- Rainbow Elementary School will receive $49,210
- Reeceville Elementary School will receive $24,990
Comitta, who serves on the Senate Education Committee, said making these healthy, nutritious snacks available to students is especially important this year since school lunches and breakfasts are no longer available for free to all students.
“It’s important that all children have access to healthy food options, including fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables,” Comitta said. “Since children from low-income families tend to have fewer opportunities to regularly consume fresh produce, this is an important way to introduce them to new options, encourage them to make better dietary choices, and help build healthy eating habits.”
“A hungry child cannot focus on learning,” said Houlahan. “Senator Comitta and I know this firsthand from our own experiences as teachers. Providing our youngest students with healthy fruits and vegetables through grants from the USDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Education will go a long way to ensure our kids are getting the nutrition and the education that they need. I appreciate Senator Comitta’s efforts to secure these grant funds and look forward to spending time with our students in the upcoming school year.”
The goal of the FFVP is to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables that students experience, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and positively impact students’ present and future health.
The program, implemented in Pennsylvania in 2004 and now available in all 50 states, has successfully introduced elementary school children to a variety of produce that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to sample. According to the USDA, it also helps combat childhood obesity by increasing the overall acceptance and consumption of fresh, unprocessed produce among children.
Schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals are prioritized for funding. Grantees are required to spend most of their funding to purchase 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.
The funding for the CASD schools comes as part of more than $7 million in FFVP grants awarded to 266 elementary schools across the Commonwealth.