Students at Sto-Rox Primary Center and the Upper Elementary School will receive three free fruits and vegetables per day under the state’s new Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program.
Under the initiative, selected schools receive reimbursement for the cost of making free fresh fruits and vegetables available to students during the school day.
These fresh fruits and vegetables must be provided separately from lunch or breakfast, in one or more areas of the school during the school day.
The goal of this program is to introduce children to fresh fruits and vegetables, to include new and different varieties, and to increase overall acceptance and consumption of fresh, unprocessed produce. Additionally, the program promotes nutrition education, resulting in healthier school environments for learners.
The primary center will be granted $22,536 and upper elementary will receive $15,480.
State Representatives Anita Kulik and Dan Deasy were part of the coalition which made the program possible which includes Reps. Aerion A. Abney, Brandon Markosek, Jessica Benham, Dan Frankel, Matthew Gergely, Emily Kinkead, La’Tasha D. Mayes, Joe McAndrew, Dan Miller, Abigail Salisbury, Mandy Steele and Arvind Venkat.
This year’s state budget dedicates funding for universal free breakfast to all students.
The 2023-24 budget includes a $567 million increase in basic education funding for Pennsylvania school districts – the largest increase in Pennsylvania history – and a $46.5 million increase to provide universal free breakfast to Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million public school students.
In Allegheny County, more than 146,000 public school students will be eligible for free breakfast starting on the ﬁ rst day of school this year.
“As I’ve traveled Pennsylvania over the past few years, one thing I heard over and over again is about how many kids come to school hungry.
Every expert will tell you that you can’t learn on an empty stomach – and we cannot expect kids to learn math and science and English when they haven’t eaten anything all day,” said Gov. Josh Shapiro via statement.