Nutrition grant awarded to Wheelersburg Local Schools in Ohio


By Frank Lewis - flewis@civitasmedia.com



Wheelersburg School District is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) for the 2016-2017 school year. The grant is made possible by the Walmart Foundation to help provide in-school assistance, technical support and funding for equipment to improve schools’ nutritional environments and increase participation among hungry and malnourished children in the National School Breakfast Program.

“I receive some of the information that Action for Healthy Kids sends out, and being a dietician, we’re aware of nutrition problems that our area and the country faces,” Malissa Sarver, registered dietician, at KDMC Ohio, said. “I was able to approach Wheelersburg about the program, and Wheelersburg understands the importance of breakfast, and, of course, in our area, even nationwide there’s a lot of kids going to school who haven’t had breakfast. This can affect a student with lower test scores, behavioral problems, even absenteeism and being tardy. It causes them to have to see the school nurses more often.”

Wheelersburg already does Universal Breakfasts, and the grant will be used to expand on their breakfast program.

“What that means is every student, regardless, is able to get a free breakfast at Wheelersburg, and they do that through all the grades,” Sarver said. “

The funding will be used to help purchase equipment needed to broaden the breakfast items offered and for the procurement of items needed to support their in class breakfast program.

With a grant they received last year, the school district was able to start offering smoothies to students as well.

“That has been a big hit,” Sarver said. “And they’re going to be able to get some equipment to make those smoothies more efficient, making larger quantities at once.”

Sarver said the elementary does in-class breakfasts, and now they will be able to expand that service to other grades and the system will be able to get more hot and cold bags and better means of transporting them to the classrooms easier.

“Wheelersburg recognizes and values the importance of breakfast and is already offering universal free breakfast to all of their students. We know that many children are coming to school without breakfast. This grant will help kick-start the day for these kids by helping them power up with good nutrition and in doing so studies show academic performance improves along with improving behavior, reduced absences and tardiness, and increasing focus in the classroom. “ Sarver said.

Sarver said Wheelersburg Schools Superintendent Mark Knapp has been great to work with.

“Anything that benefits the student, he’s on board with,” Sarver said.

Rob Bisceglie, CEO, Action for Healthy Kids cited teamwork as the key to the success of the program

“It is thanks to the support of partners like Walmart Foundation that we are able to expand our reach and have an impact on so many more schools, students and communities,” Bisceglie said. “The funding from Walmart Foundation connects schools like Wheelersburg with much-needed resources for their school breakfast programs and acknowledges the impact of that school breakfast and good nutrition have on children’s health and learning.”

It is one of 285 schools in 28 states receiving a Walmart Foundation funded grant through AFHK’s Universal Breakfast for Healthy Kids program as part of more than $1.6 million in school breakfast and physical activity grants awarded by AFHK in the 2016-2017 school year. For a complete list of all schools funded by Walmart Foundation, visit www.actionforhealthykids.org/Walmart.

Sarver said any schools interested in the Action for Healthy Kids grant, can contact her at 740-991-1430 or 740-821-0863, or Kristin O’Connor with the state organization at koconnor@actionforhealthykids.org.

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By Frank Lewis

flewis@civitasmedia.com

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.