MCCSC hopes to install salad bars at 8 schools with help of Let’s Move grant, local funds

By Bethany Nolan | 331-4373 | bnolan@heraldt.com | July 14, 2011

Eight MCCSC schools expect to offer students salad bars at lunch time this year, thanks to a grant through Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative aimed at fighting childhood obesity.

But local green stuff of the monetary kind is needed to make it happen.

“The grant application came through for Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, which is a program interested in putting 6,000 salad bars in schools in the next three years,” said Hannah Laughlin, a health educator for obesity intervention and prevention at Indiana University Health Bloomington and co-chairwoman of a comprehensive health issues committee that works with the Monroe County Community School Corp. “Clearly, the goal is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for kids. There’s lots of research out there that says if you offer them a variety of fruits and vegetables, they’ll increase their consumption.”

But such equipment can be expensive to purchase, making the grant an appealing possibility, she said. The health issues committee recently learned it was approved for $20,000 in grant funds to install salad bars in eight MCCSC schools: Arlington Heights, Binford, Highland Park, Rogers and Templeton elementary schools, Batchelor and Jackson Creek middle schools and New Tech High School.

Laughlin said those schools were chosen because each has a building-level wellness council. Two other schools have similar councils — Fairview and Clear Creek elementaries — but those schools already have salad bars, she said.

Despite the grant approval, local dollars are still needed to make the salad bars a reality. The health issues committee anticipates kicking off a local fundraising campaign soon to earn funds for the equipment, Laughlin said, pointing out that collecting more in local donations means increased funds will be received through the Let’s Move program.

“The more we can fundraise locally, the faster we’ll get them in our schools,” she said of the salad bars. “Our hope is to have them at some point during the year.”

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