Students still getting their veggies
GOSHEN — Third-grade teacher Kim Rock recently saw one of her students try a blueberry for the first time.
“It’s kind of fun to see someone eat a blueberry or a strawberry for the first time, because you know they are very good,” Rock said, smiling.
Her students and others at two Goshen elementary schools eat a fresh fruit or vegetable snack twice a week thanks to a grant from IU Health Goshen. The United States Department of Agriculture began funding a similar program for schools several years ago, but this year West Goshen and Chandler elementaries didn’t have a high enough population of students receiving free and reduced lunches to qualify. A third Goshen elementary school, Chamberlain, is still doing the USDA fruit and vegetable snack program.
Representatives of IU Health Goshen heard that some Goshen students could be losing their snack and decided to help.
“We have a long-standing partnership with Goshen Community Schools, and we’ve worked on several projects together over the years,” said Stacy Bowers of IU Health Goshen.
Since childhood obesity and children’s overall health is a concern for the community, Bowers continued, it made sense for the hospital to keep the fruit and vegetable program alive. The program as funded by IU Health Goshen will last only six weeks.
First-graders clamored for small bags of carrots cut into coin shapes Friday afternoon at West Goshen, but the room grew suddenly quiet when their teacher reminded them that they were eating roots. The wide-eyed children kept eating, but with a newfound respect for their “carrot coins.”
LaDene Nesbitt said the students always love a snack and learning where the food comes from is an added benefit.
“With any luck, we’ve got kids who are aware of something that they may not have otherwise been,” Nesbitt said.
School nurse Laura Horning said that the idea is to get kids eating healthy. If kids eat apples at school, for example, they might ask their parents to buy apples the next time they are at the grocery store.