Press Release: MSDE Awards More Than $3 Million To Provide Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
Nearly 150 Schools Receive Funding
For Immediate Release Contact: William Reinhard, 410-767-0486
Baltimore, MD (September 23, 2015)
To encourage students to develop healthy eating habits early in life, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has awarded $3,376,387 in federal funds to selected Maryland elementary schools.
The funds, made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students enrolled in participating elementary schools statewide. This year, MSDE is pleased to provide funds to 148 schools. A list of participating schools can be found here.
The FFVP targets schools located in communities that lack regular access to healthy and affordable foods. Every child enrolled in a participating school is offered the fruit and vegetable snacks. The Program is viewed as a catalyst for change, by teaching students to accept and enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The produce served often includes fruits and vegetables not always available to children living in low-income communities, including squash, mangos, mushrooms, berries, and asparagus.
“Since there is not a grocery store in walking distance to the school, our students often lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Through this program, students have been able to get fresh fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis. Students look forward to getting the produce, as well as learning about fruits and vegetables they have not had before,” says Loren McCaskill, principal at Dr. Bernard Harris, Senior Elementary School in Baltimore City.
Research reveals the Program has positive outcomes on students’ dietary choices and health. A 2015 study on the effect of the FFVP on childhood obesity found a three percent reduction in obesity among studied participants. At a rate of $50 - $75 per student per year, researchers concluded that the FFVP is a cost-effective tool to prevent obesity and improve participants’ dietary intake.
For more information about Maryland’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, please contact
Kate Gingue, Staff Specialist, at MSDE’s Office of School and Community Nutrition Programs at
410-767-0218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maryland State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are equal opportunity employers and providers.
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