Students at five V.I. public elementary schools will be getting fresh fruits and vegetables to snack on between meals, for an early start to heart-healthy lifestyles, thanks to a small federal grant, the Education Department announced Thursday.
Ulla F. Muller Elementary, Emanuel Benjamin Oliver Elementary, Jane E. Tuitt Primary and Guy Benjamin Elementary schools will participate in the fresh fruits and vegetables program in the St. Thomas-St. John district, and Ricardo Richards Elementary School will follow suit on St. Croix.
A point-person, whether a teacher, school nurse or someone else, will distribute the fruits and vegetables as snacks to the students throughout the day, State Director of the Office of Special Nutrition Programs Angela Frett said Thursday afternoon.
The program is geared toward elementary schools, with the hope of instilling healthy habits at a young age. Five schools were selected because the federal funding is limited, Frett said.
"The funds we receive are based on 1 percent of the nutrition funds we are allocated for the year from the federal government," she said. "We sent out a release to all the elementary schools urging them to apply and they filled out an application with criteria such as the number of students, who would be administrating the program, when they would be distributing the snacks and telling us why we should select their school," Frett said.
This year there is $28,000 in federal funding for the small nutrition program.
Frett congratulated the selected schools in a statement Thursday, saying "it’s an effective and creative way to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children as healthy snack options at an early age.”
For more information on the program or to apply for participation in next year’s program, contact Belinda Sanderson at 340-774-0100 ext. 2816.