Schools provide healthy afternoon treat
Picayune School District was awarded a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grant for South Side Upper Elementary, Lower Elementary and Nicholson Elementary for the 2013-14 school year.
Picayune School District Food Service Coordinator Debra Byrd said this is the first year they received the grant for all three schools. She said two years ago they were awarded the grant for Nicholson Elementary, but last year the grant was not approved for any school in the district.
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is a federally funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and allows the schools to provide free fresh fruits and vegetables to students as a snack.
Byrd said students at the three schools receive the afternoon snack on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. She said they try to select fruits and vegetables that are more exotic and usually less accessible to the students.
Some of the foods they’ve provided include mangos, mushrooms, papaya and avocados, Byrd said.
“We provide information for each fruit or vegetable of the day,” Byrd said.
While the students enjoy their afternoon snack, they can read about the benefits of eating the fruit or vegetable, what vitamins it contains, where it originates and other fun facts.
“The goal of the FFVP is to improve children’s overall diet and create healthier eating habits to impact their present and future health. The FFVP will help schools create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices; expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience; and increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption,” stated a press release from the USDA.