Several schools in Idaho, including Compass Academy, are upgrading kitchen equipment with the help of federal grants.
The Idaho State Department of Education announced in a Thursday news release it was awarding $119,303 through its Child Nutrition Programs to help 16 Idaho schools purchase new kitchen equipment. Compass Academy was awarded a $3,644 grant to acquire a double-door refrigerator.
“We’re really excited to get brand new equipment. It is a huge upgrade from the equipment that (Compass Academy) currently has in place,” said Margaret Wimborne, Idaho Falls School District 91 director of Communications and Community Engagement.
Wimborne said the new fridge has more space which will allow kitchen staff at the school to better prepare fresh fruits and vegetables, which will help the school meet state and federal nutrition requirements that have emphasized fresh produce.
The application process for the grants was competitive, with 17 School Food Authorities submitting grant applications totaling more than $167,761 in equipment requests, the release said. Schools were chosen based on consideration of the age of the school’s food service equipment, availability of state and local funding for equipment purchases, strategies for adopting lunchroom changes to provide more convenience and appeal, and opportunities for meaningful impacts on meals’ nutrition and quality, the release said.
The grant awards are funded federally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Equipment Assistance Grant.