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District Five Student Nutrition department awarded third consecutive USDA equipment grant

IRMO, SC - Lexington-Richland School District Five’s Student Nutrition department has been awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) equipment grant totaling $20,600. This marks the third consecutive year District Five has received a grant of this kind. This national initiative is one of the tools and resources the USDA offers to help schools successfully serve healthier meals and educate students on where food comes from.

“This grant is a great honor and testimony to the work we have done to secure this grant in District Five again,” said District Five Director of Student Nutrition Todd Bedenbaugh. “We’re grateful and excited about all the benefits that will come from this for our schools.”

The grant funds will be used to purchase a combination oven at Irmo Middle School. The oven has three functions: convection, steam and combination cooking. In convection mode, the oven circulates dry heat – ideal for pastries and breads. The steam mode injects water into the oven to poach fish, rice and vegetables. In 2015, Dutch Fork Elementary used the equipment grant for a $7,500 convection oven, a cooking device that heats food by the circulation of hot air. In 2016, Irmo High School purchased a combination oven with the $20,600 grant it received.

Bedenbaugh stressed the importance of having the continued support of the USDA. “These funds mean so much to our district,” Bedenbaugh said. “It allows us to purchase equipment for our schools to serve healthier meals that meet the updated meal patterns, with emphasis on more fruits and vegetables in school meals. It also will allow our district to improve food safety and expand our access.”

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