Every elementary school in McDowell County will receive a healthy snack thanks to the expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).
The program provides all children in participating schools with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day. It is an effective and creative way of introducing fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snack options.
McDowell County Schools received $168,752 in grant money for the program, which comes to $50.07 per student.
“We are so happy that all eight elementary schools received the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grant. I am excited for our McDowell County Elementary Schools and what their palates will experience,” said Rhonda Watson, child nutrition supervisor for McDowell County Schools.
Along with the fresh snacks, teachers will incorporate a lesson with the fruit or vegetable being offered that day. The goal of the FFVP is to expand the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience, increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption and make a difference in children’s diets to impact their present and future health.
The program has already started at Eastfield Global Magnet School and will begin for the other schools when classes are back in session. The program will run Monday through Thursday until all of the funds are gone.
“Our hope is it will last until the end of school depending on the fluctuation of produce prices,” said Watson. “Students who have late lunch will have their snack at 9:30 a.m. and students with early lunch will have theirs at 1 p.m.”
The snacks will be prepared by the cafeteria staff.
This program is seen as an important catalyst for change in efforts to combat childhood obesity by helping children learn more healthful eating habits. The FFVP introduces school children to a variety of produce that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to sample.