Wegmans Continues Nutritious Partnership with SCSD Schools
By Nieves J. Alvarez, communications intern
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provide students in the participating Syracuse City Schools with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables. This year, the SCSD schools participating in this program are Salem Hyde, Meachem, Bellevue, Porter, Lemoyne McKinley-Brighton, Delaware, Roberts, Franklin, and Seymour schools.
The program benefits students in grades K-6. Funded by the NYS Education Department, the program serves fruits and vegetables provided by Wegmans, a Central New York supermarket chain that is well known for their fresh produce and fruits.
“Wegmans has a strong emphasis on eating well and living well which is exhibited in our stores by the variety of healthy foods and healthy recipes that are showcased,” said Evelyn Carter, director of community relations for Wegmans. “We believe exposure to fruits and vegetables at a young age provides a dynamic foundation to proper nutrition.”
School parents, staff and volunteers are responsible for the onsite distribution of the fruits and vegetables. The program serves as a model to introduce students to healthy snack options.
The FFVP aims to provide healthier food choices to create a healthier school environment, in addition to the following:
Expand the fruits and vegetables children experience.
Increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.
Make a difference in children’s diets to impact their present and future health.
The delivery of the fruits and vegetables to the participating SCSD schools takes place once a week. At the McKinley- Brighton, Benjamin Steurwalt, physical education and wellness coordinator is responsible for choosing which vegetables will come to the school.
“The students know it’s a part of their day,” Steurwalt said. “If the child is active and eating well he or she will do well academically,” he said, in reference to past studies and research conducted.
The program goes beyond the students consuming the food, but promotes interactivity about healthy eating habits as well. They are taught about what they are eating, provided recipes and have a produce-sharing table. Some of the fruits and vegetables are broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, berries, and oranges.
“Wegmans has partnered with the SCSD with this initiative for five years and we look forward to its continued growth and expansion,” Carter said.