Student Nutrition grant making fruit an option

Student Nutrition grant making fruit an option
Posted on 11/20/2019
Student Nutrition grant making fruit an option

At the tail end of a PE class, first-graders finished up playing a game that greatly resembled a full-sized, human version of Hungry, Hungry Hippo in the Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary gymnasium.

Balls, hoops and other items were returned to the circle in the middle of the gym floor, then students settled into a straight line, trying to calm down and cool off before returning to classrooms and wrap up the rest of the day.

At the same, a few of their classmates counted out fruit packages, filling backpacks that would be sent along with the students to their classrooms. Once back at their desks, students snack on the fruit while getting to work on projects and lessons that were already underway before the scheduled break for PE.

Getting fresh fruit in front of students for snack time is part of a program NISD was selected to participate in by the Texas Department of Agriculture. NISD received a $100,000 grant to spotlight fresh fruits and vegetables for elementary students. The program is in place at Brooks-Quinn-Jones, Thomas J. Rusk and Emeline Carpenter.

Director of Student Nutrition Robin Thacker and principals at the three schools prepared a proposal and submitted it to the Texas Department of Agriculture. The TDA invited the district to participate based on U.S. Department of Agriculture criteria, part of the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, an effort to encourage students to consider healthy snack options.

“We’re honored to be selected for this,” Thacker said. “We’re eager to educate our students on the importance of a healthy diet and, along the way, enable them to create lifelong habits of choosing the right kind of selections when it comes to food.”

Student Nutrition also received recognition, along with a cash award, for its summer program. NISD was one of six recipients this year of the Innovation Acceleration Award, part of the national anti-hunger campaign No Kid Hungry.

The district received the award for moving some summer meals sites to other locations after a community site was deemed structurally unsafe. Community members came together and volunteered their own yards as distribution sites, allowing the district to serve meals to children in the neighborhood.

The award came with $1,000 to support work to end childhood hunger.

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