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Boston awarded $150K grant to help feed BPS students healthy meals

Mayor Marty Walsh accepted the award to support BOSFoodLove at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington.
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This grant will help 57,000 Boston Public School students access healthy meals. Photo: iStock

Boston has received a $150,000 grant to support BOSFoodLove, a program that provides Boston Public Schools students with healthy meals.

Mayor Marty Walsh accepted the 2018 Childhood Obesity Prevention Grant Thursday while at the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington. The money was awarded by the conference in partnership with the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America.

With this grant, 57,000 students across the BPS system will benefit from healthy meals.

“Mayors across the country are leading the way to make sure our students and families have access to fresh, healthy food,” Walsh said in a statement. “This grant will continue to support Boston’s work to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables through school meals. Choices at our schools need to work for all families and all students, many of whom depend on school meals.”

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All breakfasts and lunches are free for BPS students, regardless of income. While nearly three-quarters of students live at or below the poverty line, only 39 percent participate in school breakfast and 65 percent participate in school lunch.

BOSFoodLove wants more students to take advantage of those meals and to feel like those meals are actually a good option for them.

The program, a partnership between BPS’s Food and Nutrition Services and the Mayor’s Office of Food Access, will improve students’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables so all BPS kids can get meals that are both free and healthy.

Susan Neely, president of the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America’s board of directors, applauded Walsh for his work to “proactively tackle childhood obesity in creative ways.”

“BOSFoodLove is an excellent example of an innovative program that inspires and encourages young people to maintain a balanced diet so they can reach their full potential,” she said in a statement.  “Working together, government and industry can bring about lasting change not just to Boston but to communities across the nation.”