Education

Published on July 31st, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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SC BlueCross Foundation presents District Five with $30,000 grant

Pictured: District Five Student Nutrition Director Todd Bedenbaugh and Erika Kirby, Grants Manager for BlueCross BlueShield of SC Foundation.

IRMO – Lexington-Richland School District Five has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

District Five was the only school district receiving recent grants from the foundation to promote health-related initiatives. District officials say the grant, originally announced earlier this summer, will help fund District Five’s Pronto Taco Food Truck, which delivers food to students in need during the summer and serves the district’s high school students during the school year. A check presentation was held July 30 at Seven Oaks Park, one of several locations the District Five food truck serves this summer.

“The work of School District Five fits our mission of helping South Carolinians become healthier by supporting communities and initiatives that promote good health and nutrition,” said Erika Kirby, Grants Manager for BlueCross BlueShield of SC Foundation. “Our foundation has approved more than $10.7 million in its latest grant cycle. We think the school district’s program is innovative and something that other communities could consider to promote proper nutrition and ultimately better health for our children.”

Funded through sponsorships and grants, District Five’s food truck was piloted at high schools this spring, serving burrito and taco menu items that meet national guidelines for school meals. Officials with the district’s Student Nutrition Department say the food truck is part of a continued effort to provide healthy meal options to students in District Five and serve more students in need during the summer.

“For us, it’s one more tool to ensure that our students are getting healthy meals year-round,” said District Five Student Nutrition Director Todd Bedenbaugh. “We are grateful to sponsors and groups like the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation for making this possible, and we look forward to providing this exciting expansion of our food services to the students in District Five.”

The food truck serves hot food items at several sites during the summer, including two apartment complexes. This school year, Pronto Taco will rotate among the district’s four high schools; serving cafeteria-prepared options like Nachos with Queso, Pico De Gallo, and Chicken or Beef Tacos and Burritos to students at Chapin, Dutch Fork, Irmo and Spring Hill high schools.

The new food truck is the latest of several initiatives and programs promoting healthy meals in District Five through grants and sponsorships. In May, the district’s Student Nutrition Department hosted a “Chopped” cooking contest for fourth grade students as part of District Five’s federal Farm to Five grant. The program also has included summer training for cafeteria staff, teacher and staff field trips to local farms, and upgrades to several school gardens. District Five’s federally-funded Seamless Summer Food Service Program began on June 8 and will be available through Aug. 6, Monday through Thursday at several open sites including: Irmo High School, Harbison West Elementary, Seven Oaks Elementary and Dutch Fork High School. The food truck will serve students at Irmo area apartments and other sites near schools through the first week of August.

Bedenbaugh said, “We’re committed to providing fresh, high quality food to students. The grant by the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, new food truck and other sponsorships are additional ways we’re getting healthy meals to the students in District Five.”

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