The Jones County School Nutrition Program was awarded an additional grant to use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables for children throughout the summer.
Matoshia Grant, the director of the program, said she was happy to receive the grant, so children in the Jones County community can receive healthy food options.
“The United States Department of Agriculture via the Georgia Department of Education sent out a request for any districts in Georgia that would like to apply for any additional funding for summer feeding by way of fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said. “We jumped on it, because children love fruit.”
She said the Jones County School Nutrition Program was awarded $25,000, which they have been using for the Seamless Summer Program. She said the families have loved getting the meals, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
“The parents said they have really enjoyed the fresh stuff they are getting. We want to do everything we can to support the community. This grant has helped to put Jones County on the map. We’re sticking together and giving the kids food that is locally grown,” Grant said.
The director said fruits and vegetables are good for the children’s health. According to betterhealth.vic.gov.au, vegetables and fruit provide important vitamins such as vitamin C and folic acid. They also have other plant substances that are thought important to help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
“Fruits and vegetables are good for the kids,” the director said. “Instead of eating M&M’s, why not grab an apple? We’re getting them to try different things like kiwi, pomegranate, watermelon, apples, and grapefruit. Getting vitamin C and other nutrients is important.”
Grant said they ae going to continue to serve new foods throughout the school year, so students don’t get bored with their food and get a chance to experience new foods. She said the children have responded very well to the fruits and vegetables.
“The numbers are up from last year for meals this summer. Last year they got pre-packaged meals, but now we are doing the meals ourselves. We are giving them things we know they will eat during the summer,” Grant said.
She said children should continue to get exposure to new foods as they grow. She said the grant will last through June 30, but they have enough resources that will last through the entire summer.
“My favorite thing about getting this grant is being able to use the resources to let the community know we care,” the director said. “It’s all about the community. If it’s going to benefit Jones County, I’m going to jump on it.”