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Rural Ozarks school adds healthy snack program for students

CONWAY, Mo. Laclede County R-1 schools began a new program to make sure students don’t go home hungry. Its more than 800 students get a healthy snack right before they go home.

The school district keeps the food in the old high school kitchen. Everyday at the end of school, a tub goes to each classroom, pre-k through 12th grade.

The kids get some protein, like cheese or meat, a fruit, vegetable, a grain and a dairy product. It meets the requirements for a full meal, and doesn’t cost families a thing. A USDA Grant, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, pays for the program.

Life360 Community Services helped schools in the Springfield and St Louis areas set up the program, and they helped the schools Conway get it all started too.

Laclede County R-1 schools considered offering the food for students in after school activities, but then decided to hand it out to every student right at dismissal time.

“It breaks your heart to hear that you have students who aren’t getting enough food and also the quality of food that they need,” said Mark Hedger, Laclede County R-1 schools superintendent. “So the fact that this is really a nutritious snack, meets all the guidelines of an actual meal, I believe to the USDA. So that is really a benefit. It’s not just food, but healthy food and that’s what we really want to push for our kids.”

The grant also pays to hire people here in the community to run the program, so it has also created a few jobs.

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