RANGELEY — It’s not every day that one may hear students cheering for vegetables, but that’s what happens at the Rangeley Lakes Regional School when children see the morning snack cart coming down the hall.
School nurse Lindsey Savage stops at each classroom where students wait their turn to try whatever she is serving. The snacks are different every day, but usually include a combination of fresh or dried fruit, vegetables, cheese, yogurt and crackers. Brittany Moura, a kitchen assistant with years of food industry experience, selects and prepares the snacks.
The program began last spring with a pilot organized and funded by Rangeley Health and Wellness. The goal was to address the needs of students bringing insufficient or unhealthy snacks to school. Poor nutrition can hinder children’s ability to focus and learn and, over time, can negatively affect their overall health. The snacks filled a need not covered by the federally subsidized school lunch and breakfast programs.
Lindsay Richards, fitness director at Rangeley Health and Wellness, was the champion behind the pilot project.
The healthy snacks were delivered for the past three months of the 2018-2019 school year and were well received.
School administrators were eager to make the program permanent but had missed the budget deadline. So, a group of local businesses and organizations stepped up. The snacks cost about 40 cents per student per day, or about $1,000 per month.
Rangeley Health and Wellness committed $5,000 to cover half of the total cost. Blue Flame Gas Co., Burgess Construction and Rangeley Internet, Franklin Savings Bank, and Rangeley Trading Co. have each sponsored a month. Experience Rangeley magazine, Sarge’s Pub and Grub, Rangeley Rotary Club, and Friends of Rangeley Recreation have also pledged contributions.
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