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Washington produce featured on school salad bar

The kids at Grant Elementary School in the Perry neighborhood got a taste of fresh Washington fruits and vegetables on the salad bar on Wednesday.

The Washington Department of Agriculture and the Washington State Nutrition Assoication teamed up for "Taste Washington Day" at school districts across the state.

At Grant, waves of kids came through the lunch line were able to choose from apples, peaches and pluots grown near Othello and carrots grown in Cheney. Older students helped the younger kids pick out produce and encouraged them to try something new.

Brian Estes, Eastern Washington coordinator for Fresh Food in Schools, said they hope the exposure will help kids discover new flavors they love and in turn encourage their families to buy them.

Doug Wordell, Director of Nutrition Services for Spokane's School District 81, said a new mandate from the USDA means children must choose a fruit or vegetable with their lunches. He said they expected to increase spending on fresh fruits and vegetables by about $250,000 this year to meet that new rule, but now estimates the increase at about $500,000 because kids have been eating more healthy produce.

There is some waste, Wordell said, but getting more fresh fruits and vegetables onto kids' lunch trays is good news. They'll be working on ways to reduce waste soon.

Wordell said the district always buys some Washington grown produce, but Wednesday's fruit and vegetables were all from the state. It helps to highlight the farm-to-table connection and the importance of helping local farmers by buying their produce, Estes said.

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart stopped by to see the efforts as did councilman Jon Snyder.

Grant Elementary School wins greenhouse

Grant got one of several greenhouses donated by The Washington State Potato Commission and Yokes Fresh Markets - along with $1000 in donations (half from each organization) to get the greenhouse and a garden club started.
"We are going to start a garden club, and how ever many kids want to come out here and grow and plant stuff are welcome," said Heidi Hash, parent volunteer at Grant.
Neighbors and volunteers from the South Perry Farmers Market and the Grant Park Community Garden steering committee helped put the greenhouse up last week.
Hash said there's already been a basil inquiry from South Perry Pizza.
"We are hoping we can get things started soon," said Hash. "And maybe, this summer, we'll be able to move some of the plants over to the community garden."

Eat pizza, support Grant Elementary School

It's Grant support day at South Perry Pizza: 10 percent of all sales today will be donated to Grant Elementary School, so bring the big appetite. Stop in and support your local elementary school - and while you are at it, bring some boots and socks to donate to the South Perry Sock Drive. It's going to snow again.

Watch out for school kids

So neighbors tell me the Spokane Police Department were on the spot this morning telling parents not to drop their kids off in the school bus zone at Grant Elementary. I'm not sure if that's an ongoing problem or something that's been made worse because of the snow? Traffic on Ninth Avenue by Grant gets a little crazy around school start time every morning, what between parked cars on the street and crossing guards on shepherding kids across Perry - so be careful when you drive by there.
Any parents or Grant neighbors wanting to weigh in on this?

The socks are piling in

The South Perry Sock Drive has only put out a few bins, but the socks, hats and scarves are piling in - here’s a shot of one of three huge bags that’s stuffed into the back of my ridiculously small car.

If you would like to put up a bin and a poster at your place of business or worship, drop me a note at piah@spokesman.com or come by The Shop Thursday afternoon between 3-4:30 p.m. The socks and hats and other winter clothing goes to students at Grant Elementary.

The South Perry Sock Drive is on

It’s happening: the South Perry Business and Neighborhood Association and TEAM Grant is sponsoring a sock, boot, mitten and hat drive for the students at Grant Elementary - and what better time to get going than in the middle of the first big snow?
The blog will be at The Perry Street Café Thursday morning around 8, so come in and get a flier or a poster to put up at your place of work or worship.
Look for big collection bins at South Perry businesses - or drop your donation at Grant Elementary.
Around 90 percent of the students at Grant qualify for free or reduced lunch - a measure often used to determine the number of low-income students - and many come to school without boots, socks, tights and hats. The Parent Teacher Organization at Grant is also sponsoring the Perry Sock Drive (for short).
Please donate new or lightly used boots, socks, mittens, scarves and hats for the students - sizes needed are kindergarten and older.
If you are part of a knitting or sewing group and would like to donate homemade socks, hats and scarves, please e-mail the blog at piah@spokesman.com

Pizza for the PTO

South Perry Pizza is having a fundraiser for Grant Elementary’s PTG on Tuesday Nov. 23. They have one every quarter, and on Tuesday 10 percent of the day’s gross sales will be donated to the PTG. There will also be a “jar” available for additional donations. 

Great gift from Perry Fair and Parade

The proceeds from this year’s South Perry Fair and Parade were designated to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and to Grant Elementary School’s PAWS program. On Tuesday night at the South Perry Business and Neighborhood Association, Kris Gladeau, a teacher at Grant, received $1,000 toaward purchasing new books for the school library.

“This means so much, it really is a great gift,” said Gladeau, looking at the check. “It has been years since we have been able to buy any new books. It’s like our fiction section is all classics.”

Gladeau said she’ll ask the students which kinds of books they are interested in and then create a purchase list from there.