Thursday, September 22, 2016

Missouri schools receive grant to expand school breakfast program

(From the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received a grant totaling more than $190,000 on Thursday to help fund the expansion of school breakfast programs throughout the state. The state secured these funds as part of the 2016 Fuel Up to Play 60 School Nutrition Grant program in recognition of the state’s efforts to ensure all students have access to more nutritious foods.

The funds will be distributed in the coming weeks to 24 school districts throughout the state, allowing a total of 66 schools to fund innovative programs such as Breakfast After the Bell or to add new school menu offerings.

“Having access to a healthy and nutritious breakfast sets the tone for the day and ensures that our kids have the energy and focus they need to do their best in the classroom,” Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven said. “Thanks to Missouri’s dairy farmers and to the Fuel Up to Play 60 School Nutrition Grant program, even more schools across our great state will be able to purchase the equipment and resources they need to ensure that our kids start the day off with a healthy breakfast option.”

Seeing a need to create healthier environments in schools throughout the Midwest, dairy farmers provide funding to the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and the School Nutrition Grants program which allowed schools to apply for up to $5,000 in total value. Since 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $215 million in school nutrition equipment grants. USDA provides this funding to states, which then competitively award grants to school districts in order to purchase necessary equipment, giving priority to high-need schools where 50 percent or more of the enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

“Midwest Dairy Council’s dairy farm families have supported school nutrition for more than 100 years, and we are excited to work with USDA to continue that tradition,” said Melissa Young, vice president of health and wellness for Midwest Dairy Council.

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