Mullery announces grants for West Hazleton, Freeland schools to provide healthier meals

HARRISBURG, April 12 – Students at two local schools will be eating healthier thanks to food service equipment grants, according to state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne.

Mullery said West Hazleton Elementary/Middle School intends to use its $18,082 grant to purchase and install a convection steamer, while Freeland Elementary/Middle School was awarded a $6,767 grant to purchase and install a reach-in freezer.

“Combined, this is nearly $25,000 coming into two of our area’s schools to help provide healthier food for the students,” said Mullery, D-Luzerne. “These grants will help make sure that they are getting good, nutritious and safer meals.”

The grants come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and are distributed through the state Department of Education using a competitive selection process. Priority is given to high-need schools where 50 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Mullery said 44 Pennsylvania schools received a total of $844,776 in funding under the program, to purchase equipment to serve healthier meals that meet updated meal patterns, with emphasis on more fruits and vegetables in school meals, improved food safety and to expand access to food.

Criteria also taken into account includes schools in underserved areas and the age of existing food service equipment.