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Oregon School District Uses USDA Equipment Grant to Bring Efficiency to the Kitchen

Posted by Julie Yee, Public Affairs Specialist, Western Regional Office in Food and Nutrition Nutrition Security
Jul 20, 2022
Norma Miller, Prospect Head Cook, serving lunch on a yellow tray with a carton of milk, bread, fruit, salad, and spaghetti

As any parent can attest, the ability to get nutritious food on the table fast is key. But when you’re cooking for not just your family but a whole school – efficiency is everything.

That’s why something as simple as some new, highly efficient cooking equipment can make a world of a difference for school nutrition professionals, dedicated to getting healthy and tasty meals to the children in their care each day.

Prospect Charter School, a small school district in the southern part of Oregon, received a U.S. Department of Agriculture National School Lunch Program Equipment Assistance Grant for fiscal year 2019. These funds allow schools to purchase equipment to serve healthier meals and improve food safety.

The school district had tried to use the grant funding before the deadline, but due to supply chain issues, they were unable to get the equipment in time. Despite this, the Oregon Department of Education’s worked with Food and Nutrition Service to come up with a way to extend the funding so the school could use their grant to purchase a new stove.

“The staff love the new stove! Much more efficient. Instead of 45 minutes to boil water, it is 10,” said the school’s Business Manager Sheri Eary. “They have access to four burners now and two ovens that actually work!"

School meal programs help provide critical nutrition to students, while exposing them to healthy foods and nurturing healthy habits they can carry throughout their lives. Equipment grants are one of many resources USDA offers to help schools operate successful meal programs.

Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Specialist Jennifer Parenteau said, "My personal goal for equipment grants is to award every dollar to Oregon sponsors who need equipment like Prospect [School District] did."

One industrial sized kitchen equipment of four burners with griddle and two ovens