Merski, Harkins: Nearly $375,000 in grant funding will bring fresh produce to Erie elementary schools

ERIE, Aug. 31 – More fresh fruits and vegetables are headed to Erie elementary schools, thanks to $372,400 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today.

The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said funding under the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program includes $331,450 to elementary schools in the Erie City School District and $40,950 to the Iroquois School District.

“Snacks like raw fruits and vegetables are quite literally brain food for kids – proven to help them focus better, retain more information, and perform better on tests,” Merski said. “They also help boost young immune systems to keep illness at bay. I am thrilled that we were able to help secure this funding so our students can reap the benefits of more nutritious snacks.”

Harkins said, “Getting more fresh produce into our local schools can do so much for students – in addition to increased school performance, getting kids snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of junk food helps them form healthy habits from a young age – hopefully, lessons that will last a lifetime.

Funding priority was given to the schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

More information about the grants is available here, and a full list of the schools receiving funding is available here.