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Commissioner Staples to award $11 million in stimulus funding for child nutrition

Schools to use funds to increase quality, efficiency of school lunches


Amid rising economic turmoil, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is working hard to make sure stimulus dollars are used to benefit Texas school children and Texas schools. The Texas Department of Agriculture received more than $11 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to replace food preparation equipment in schools.

"It is my first priority to ensure any dollars allocated to the Texas Department of Agriculture are used efficiently and have the greatest impact to the eligible recipients," Commissioner Staples said. "Schools can use this money to replace old, worn-out equipment and make sure our children are receiving healthy meals. These funds will go a long way to improving the nutritional offerings in schools."

To be eligible for funding, school districts must participate in the national school lunch program; priority will be given to schools with a majority of students eligible to receive free or reduced-cost meals. Funds must be used to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of delivering meals. Schools can use the money to replace, upgrade or update equipment.

"I think this is a fabulous opportunity for school districts," Beth Wallace, Food Service Director of Comal Independent School District said.

Eligible school districts can apply beginning April 1 and can find more information at Squaremeals.org. TDA administers the nation's largest school lunch and breakfast program.

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