CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – Federal funds are being used to improve the quality and accessibility of school lunches nationwide.
An unprecedented $12 billion investment from the American Rescue Plan Act enables the United States Department of Agriculture to fight hunger and increase food security in communities across the country.
The effects of the investment are being felt here in the Lowcountry.
U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Jewel Bronaugh visited Sanders Clyde Elementary School in downtown Charleston on Monday to see the efforts firsthand.
“It’s incredibly impactful for me to see the type and quality of food these children are getting and I wish every child in this country could get the same quality,” Dr Bronaugh said.
The program has enabled food service employees to better support the needs of students.
“I was able to serve free meals every day with breakfast, lunch, snack, mid-morning snack, supper and we also have a grant for kids to try fresh fruits and vegetables every day,” said Keylora Black, Food Service Manager at Sanders Clyde.
According to a USDA study and explained by Dr. Bronaugh, eating fresh, nutritious meals helps children become better students.
“I know that if these students eat fresh, nutritious meals, they’re more attentive, they’re learning, they’re more engaged,” Dr. Bronaugh said.
On top of that, for some students, breakfast and lunch at school are the only healthy calories they eat throughout the day.
“Some mornings I arrive at work and some kids are already waiting here at 6 a.m. because they want to have breakfast,” Black said. “Especially on Monday mornings because they may not have a meal on the weekends.”
To learn more about the USDA’s commitment to providing greater access to healthy food nationwide, Click here.