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Stories Added - June 2009
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Goodrich Elementary gets stimulus funds for cafeteria
Polk County Enterprise - June 2009
AUSTIN — Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples last announced 381 schools in 100 Texas school districts will be awarded more than $11 million worth of new kitchen equipment as part of the federal stimulus package administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Goodrich Elementary was the only Polk County school listed. Goodrich is set to purchase the following items for the elementary cafeteria: • Walk-in cooler/freezer combo, $31,000 • Steamer, convection countertop, $8,595 • Gas range, $11,899 • Custom serving counter, $52,050 Conveyor oven, $9,984 The new kitchen equipment will provide greater energy efficiency and increase the nutritional value of school meals by replacing deep-frying cooking methods and allowing for greater use of fresh ingredients. “The kitchen equipment purchased with these funds will allow schools to provide more nutritious meals to Texas school children and also help in the fight against childhood obesity,” Commissioner Staples said. “I am very proud of the accomplishments of our Texas schools as they take another step toward encouraging the 3 E’s of Healthy Living – Education, Exercise and Eating Right.” When TDA announced the funds would be available, the agency received an overwhelming response from more than 3,000 schools that needed to replace more than $135 million in lunchroom equipment. With the available funding, 381 Texas schools will be able to purchase a total of 939 pieces of new kitchen equipment such as ovens, freezers, steam tables and food processors. “This is fantastic,” said Carmen Ocanas-Lerma, director for Child Nutrition Services at McAllen Independent School District, a selected funding recipient. “We are currently producing meals on equipment that is over 20 and 30 years old, so we’re in dire straits. We look forward to making muchneeded improvements because the kids deserve better. The funding will allow us to offer better meals and better service.” Eligible school districts are required to participate in the National School Lunch Program. Priority was given to those districts with a significant number of students eligible for free or reduced-cost meals. Funds must be used to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of delivering school meals. The money can be used to replace, upgrade or update food service equipment. A complete list of recipients is at www.squaremeals.org/ARRA.