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Grant upgrades lunches for OSD students

Oxford School District students’ lunches just got an upgrade.

The OSD recently received a grant from the School Food Support Initiative that will serve meals cooked from scratch for breakfast and lunch.

SFSI is a program from the Life Time Foundation, an organization that promotes healthy eating in schools, partnered with the Chef Ann Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, with additional support from The Gateway Fund.

As part of the grant, which is worth an estimated $192,000 over a two year period, will also see Chef Ann Cooper entering the schools to assess the current lunches, plan for the future and instruct how to prepare meals.

Eleanor Green, the Good Food for Oxford Schools Program Director, assists in finding grant opportunities and she found SFSI through the Mississippi Farm to School Network.

“After hearing Chef Ann Cooper speak at the Mississippi Farm to Cafeteria Conference in November, as both an OSD parent and GFOS Program Director, I knew it was right for our students,” Green said. “GFOS began in 2012 and through the program, brought salad bars to OSD schools, grew farm to school efforts, added new exciting choices to the menu and introduced kids to new foods through taste tests, SFSI is the logical next step in this journey to improve our school food.”

Tim Howington, the Director for Child Nutrition in the OSD, says that the grant will also provide technical assistance in the cafeteria kitchens and will reduce the use of processed and artificial ingredients.

“This grant compliments our ongoing efforts to focus on fruits and vegetables as well as offer more whole grains in our school menus,” Howington added in an email. “We are truly honored to be one of seven school districts nationwide to receive this generous grant, and we will work hard to ensure OSD students receive the highest quality, healthiest food possible.  Our wonderful children deserve only the best.”

On-site assessment will take place in OSD cafeterias beginning this fall.