For the last several years, TCSD #1 has received grant funding from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to support a fresh fruit in schools program for the entire school year. This week we received notification from WDE that the USDA has reduced the funding, dramatically impacting the program.
Last year TCSD #1 received USDA funding to provide the fresh fruit program at Alta Elementary, Wilson Elementary, Colter Elementary, and Jackson Elementary Schools. In April we were notified that due to funding limitations we would no longer receive the funding for Alta and Wilson Elementary Schools but the program would be funded at Colter and Jackson Elementary Schools based on participation in the Free and Reduction Lunch program.
This week we received an additional update stating that there was an error in the calculations and that our funding was further reduced, leaving Colter Elementary as the only school that will receive funding for the program. Additionally, there is only enough funding to support the program from October through June, rather being able to support the program for the entire school year.
Food Services Director, Wes Clarke stated, “This is a great program that allows all students to receive fresh fruits and vegetables during the long school day. We see many times that students are very hungry between morning and lunch or lunch and the end of the school day. They just need a small pick me up to be the best learners they can be. These snacks are distributed in the classroom and teachers are able to use these fresh fruits and vegetables not only as nutritional snacks but also as an educational tool.”
TCSD #1 will continue to look for other grant opportunities, community partnerships, and private donations in the hope that we may continue to provide this important program that supports the health and well-being of our young students.