Some Harrison County elementary schools introducing new fruits, vegetables to students

The program is expected to continue for the entire school year.
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:41 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A grant for more than $620,000 is going to 14 elementary schools in Harrison County to introduce children to healthier snacking options.

“We’re exposing our students to some fruits and vegetables maybe they weren’t exposed to,” said Principal William Bentz, principal of West Wortham Elementary & Middle School. “And obviously from a monetary stand point, with prices the way they are right now with certain things, it gives them an opportunity to have these nutritious snacks.”

Students will have a designated time to eat fruits and vegetables as snacks outside of lunchtime.

“Some of the things they will be exposed to star fruit, peas, tomatoes,” Bentz said.

“This provides a lot of money for non-traditional fruit and vegetable items that are seasonal that may not be available to the children in the breakfast and lunch programs,” said Child Nutrition Director Brad Barlow.

Bentz said this program is important not just for the schools but for the state as well.

“You know Mississippi leads the United States in obesity. It’s always in the top, and I feel like by exposing them and giving them this opportunity, it really sets them on a healthy path,” he said.

The ultimate goal is to get even more schools involved with this program.

“Is to have every elementary school in Harrison County School District receive the fresh fruit and vegetable program because of its great impact on the nutrition towards our students,” Barlow said.

“It really inspires them, and like I said, it exposes them to those things and really their families as well,” Bentz said. “So from a dietary stand point, it really ups the ante when it comes to that.”

The program is expected to continue for the entire school year.

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