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Snack program big hit at CES

Clanton Elementary students are enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables during snack time thanks to a new grant from the federal government.

The school system earned a $50,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to buy the fresh produce.

Child Nutrition Program Director Pat Clements said she applied for the grant for two reasons: to help students develop healthier snacking habits and provide for students who might not have snacks otherwise.

“The younger students start eating fresh fruits and vegetables, the more likely they are to acquire a taste for them,” said Clements. “Plus, not every child has a snack or money for a snack every day.”

So far this year, students have munched on apples, bananas, pears, plums, pineapple, oranges, grapes, melons and more.

Clements said the program hopes to add more exotic produce in the weeks ahead.

“We want to expose them to fruits and vegetables that they might not normally have,” Clements said.

The program started the first day of school. The grant also stipulates that nutrition education be taught to students.

The snacks are served to different grade levels on different days during snack time. The program has been a big hit with students.

“The children are loving it,” Clements said. “It’s been so received by the children. I think it will be valuable in helping them develop tastes for foods they might not otherwise have. This will teach them to choose more nutritious snacks.”

Much of the produce comes for local farmers, and all of it, except for pineapple, must be grown domestically.

This is the first year Chilton County has received the of grant. Clements hopes to renew the grant for next year and possibly expand the program to more schools.