JOPLIN, Mo. — Most of us know the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.
But with so many people out of work or with their hours cut so far back, it can be expensive to eat healthy, especially now.
Brandy Leavitt talks about her students as if they were hew own kids.
And as Joplin High School Cafeteria Manager, she has a lot of them.
“This helps my kids in a way that I can’t help them at school, this helps them at home, makes sure their body’s are nourished and they’re happy and they come to school happy.”
She’s talking about a huge shipment of fresh produce the district has received, and she couldn’t be happier to be one of the people sharing it with students and the community at large.
Rick Kenkel, Joplin Schools Director of Child Nutrition, said, “I think it’s probably the perfect time for this produce to be coming into Joplin.”
Kenkel got a heads up from the district’s food supplier, C&C Produce in Kansas City about a grant available through the U.S.D.A. Called Farmers to Families.
He’s glad he followed through with the process.
“I’ve been doing school lunch for 25 years and it’s the first time I’ve been able to secure a grant of this nature and the quantity so this is huge I think.”
On Wednesday of this week, the district will share some of the produce with non profits like the Boys and Girls Club, Souls Harbor, and the Area Agency on Aging.
Leavitt and her staff have already spent several weeks handing out sack lunches for kids in need, nearly 325,000 since March 23rd.
This will help them eat healthy for at least the next three weeks.
“It makes me feel very blessed and lucky to be able to pass this out to our community, they’re all so appreciative of everything that we give them,” said Leavitt.