After a summer of providing healthy meals and snacks to young people, Great Bend USD 428’s Food Service Director Kristy Alvord was given a green light Monday to provide more fresh fruit and vegetables at three schools this fall.
Alvord received the school board’s approval to accept a grant from the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) for the 2019-2020 school year for Eisenhower, Park and Riley elementary schools. This federally assisted program provides free fresh fruits and vegetables to elementary students during the school day.
“They take it to kids in the classroom as a snack,” Superintendent Khris Thexton said. “It’s usually something that’s not purchased in the stores, so they get to try new things.” The grant is valued at $42,900.
The program is intended to help schools create healthier eating habits by
• providing healthier food choices;
• expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience; and
• increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.
Board member Don Williams asked if Jefferson and Lincoln schools could also qualify for this grant but Thexton said it is based on income demographics and only three schools qualify. Williams asked him to look into the cost of ordering extra items so that other schools could also reap the benefits of fresh fruits and veggies.
Summer meal program
Thexton also reported on the federally funded Summer Meal Program. During the month of June, Great Bend served 4,239 breakfasts and 8,228 lunches at the five elementary schools. These were available to anyone younger than 18 years old; although many of the participants were there for summer school, Thexton said there were also plenty of drop-ins, walk-ups and kids on bikes, and some families that wanted to check out where their children will attend school next year.
“This federal program does not cost the district any money,” Thexton said. “They are happy to offer the program (through the Central Kitchen) and will continue to do so in the future.”
Thexton noted that the number of breakfasts served was 439 fewer than in 2018 while the number of lunches served was 148 greater than last year.
For the month of July, summer lunches are offered Monday through Friday at Park Elementary School and snacks are offered at Great Bend Public Library.
Grant submissions and outside contributions to the district are always on the school board agenda for the board to accept. In addition to approving the FFVP grant on Monday, the school board also approved a gift of $1,323 from Keystone Consolidates/KSW to the Great Bend High School FFA Club.