New Hampshire

NH School District Loses Funding for Fresh Fruits, Vegetables

A New Hampshire school district is trying to figure out how to get some of its students nutritious food after losing a federal grant that paid for fruits and vegetables.

Without this grant, more than 900 students will be missing out on fresh fruits and vegetables that they used to enjoy at school.

"These kids, they need it, they need it to keep going," said Raymond mom Tammy Reardon.

Years ago, when Reardon’s husband got laid off, the free and reduced lunch program was a lifesaver.

"It was a relief," she said. "It was a nice knowing it was there for them."

The program isn’t going anywhere, but this year, the Raymond School District lost tens of thousands of dollars in federal funds that paid for the fresh fruits and vegetables.

"It was disappointing"” said Raymond Superintendent Tina McCoy.

She says the grant is based on need and because the number of kids enrolled in the free lunch program dropped this year, the district lost the funding.

"Right now, we are at 25 percent, which I think is still high, but we didn’t make the cut off they determined," McCoy explained.

While administrators come up with a long-term plan, they’re asking local businesses for help.

The donation bin at Tuckaway Tavern is filling up.

"Yeah, it hits close to home," said the restaurant’s Assistant General Manager Coach Miller.

Before this job, Miller actually spent years as the food service director in a nearby school district.

"I could tell you stories that would make you cry," he said.

Miller simply can’t bear the thought of a child trying to learn on a hungry stomach, so, like many other businesses in town, they’ll do everything they can to help fill the gap the lost grant has left behind.

"It’s just a nice reflection on the town of Raymond that there’s so many caring people," McCoy said.

"In the end, everyone comes together and it’s a big family," Reardon said.

Administrators are now considering all options.

They’re even thinking about planting gardens on school property so students can learn how to grow their own fruits and vegetables. 

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