Harkins: Grant will help ensure Erie students have access to fresh fruits and vegetables

ERIE, Sept. 21 – Grant funding to Iroquois School District will ensure students at Iroquois Elementary School have greater access to the fresh fruits and vegetables they need to stay healthy and thrive in the classroom, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, announced today.

Harkins said the funding awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program will ensure students have access to a critical learning resource.

“Access to fresh fruits and vegetables plays a critical role in ensuring students are mentally alert and healthy, but not all students have a wide variety or consistent supply at home, and the pandemic has complicated the issue,” Harkins said. “This funding will help ensure that no student suffers academically because their household’s inability to provide the fresh produce that is such an important component of nutrition.”

The funding, which was not broken down by district, is part of a package of more than $7 million in grants to 230 elementary schools. Funding priority was given to the schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

Under the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, schools will receive between $50 and $75 per student, based upon the federal allocation to the state.

More information on the grants is available here.