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Elementary school students will have fresh fruit in classrooms

The Picayune School District received a grant to bring fresh fruit and vegetables to students in elementary school classrooms this year, said Food Service Director Debbie Byrd.

Two days a week children in elementary classrooms will get a chance to try exotic fruits or vegetables not regularly served in the school, Byrd said.

“Some children will never taste some fruits, because they’re just too expensive, so we’re able to give it to them for them to try,” Byrd said.

While the children eat that day’s fruit or vegetable, teachers will read a description about it, Byrd said.

“It’s just trying to push them more to fruits and vegetables rather than chips or cookies,” Byrd said.

The District has participated in the program for the last five years, but must reapply every year, Byrd said.

Also, the District will be offering free meals to all children beginning Monday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Picayune Memorial High School, Byrd said.

Parents can bring children 18 and younger to eat, and adults who want a meal can pay $3.50 each, Byrd said. The meals follow the same dietary guidelines the District follows for school lunches, Byrd said.

The evening meals can help feed students attending after school tutoring programs and kids participating in after school sports activities or band practice, Byrd said. Ultimately, the meals ensure children have a healthy meal available for supper, Byrd said.

The District has also been approved for Community Eligibility Provision, which means that all children can eat free breakfast and free lunch, Byrd said. The District has been approved for that program the last four years, but must reapply every year, Byrd said.

All three programs are funded by the USDA, Byrd said.