Grant provides healthy snacks to Frazier students

Published 2:15 pm Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Frazier Primary students know their way around a produce section.

The first- and second-graders can pick out kiwi, papaya, celery and even European cucumber.

They’ll tell you what it tastes like, where it comes from and how it’s grown.

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And they’ll tell you if they want some.

The students are benefiting from their second year of a fruits and vegetables grant that provides healthy snacks every morning.

Last year, Frazier received $42,722 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services. This year that number went up to $83,650.

School Nurse Joyce Griffin coordinates the program.

“These children have fruits now that they wouldn’t ordinarily have had,” Griffin said. “Fruit is expensive. One parent told me she would rather buy two chickens than buy a pack of grapes because it’s economical.”

The fruit program aims to curb childhood obesity, but also teaches children everything from math to Spanish, Griffin said. While students are eating, teachers have them count seeds, learn the fruits home country and say the Spanish word.

Frazier is one of 25 schools in Mississippi to receive the federal funding.

The grant will end at the close of this school year, but Griffin is reapplying and hopeful the money will come back next year.

The standing favorites among the children are strawberries and broccoli, she said.

“They love the broccoli,” she said.

“Because of the ranch dressing.”