Poplar Bluff elementary schools roll out free fruit, veggie program
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - We all know it's important to eat healthy, but one Heartland School District is taking it to the next level.
Poplar Bluff elementary schools are now offering fruit and veggies to students for free.
The new program across Poplar Bluff is a hit, not only with kids but their taste buds as well.
It sounds like a simple plan.
"We can get fruit during the day whenever we come out to use the bathroom or whenever we come back from recess," said third grader Brayden Poole.
But it's something that's setting Poplar Bluff schools apart.
Lake Road Elementary has been offering fresh fruit and veggies for four years, but this year the carts will be available to all Poplar Bluff elementary schools.
"Used to, kids would bring snacks or even drinks and sodas, and now they don't really bring any of that because they know they have options of either fruits or vegetables," said Lake Road Principal Erica Weadon.
The kids feel there's no need to bring a snack anymore.
"No, because we have the fruit cart," said third grader Makayla Osesarviso.
"Instead of bringing stuff to school I can just grab fruit," said third grader Rayshaun Jones.
The program is funded through a grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
It costs around $180,000 to maintain, but school leaders say it's priceless.
"It helps promote lifelong healthy eating habits, and so this was a no-brainer for us," said Poplar Bluff Schools Superintendent Scott Dill.
Everyone has their favorite.
"Banana," said Poole.
"Kiwi," said Osesarviso.
"Carrots," said Jones.
Sometimes it's a hit.
"They were kinda gross, but when I ate them the second day I thought they were good," said Jones.
And sometimes… a miss.
When asked if he would try kiwi again Poole said, "maybe not."
Osesarviso said she doesn't like carrots.
"They just don't taste good."
However, administrators say having this program at their six schools gives kids a choice, and that even if it's not so good, at least they tried it.
"Just hoping that they develop a need to try different things, and always be open to new ideas," Weadon said.
Because you never know what will end up in the fruit cart.
"We're hoping this year to even bring out some starfruit, maybe mango, things like that that aren't normal to this area," Weadon said.
Administrators and teachers say it's even helping them eat healthier too.
By the end of the day, the fruit cart is pretty much empty.
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