Foundation offers matching funds for Eagle County lunch program |

Foundation offers matching funds for Eagle County lunch program

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – The Eagle County Schools established the Fresh Approach Healthy Food in Schools Initiative in 2010, and the Walton Family Foundation has pledged a $50,000 matching grant for the program this year.

The grant funds will be used to purchase fresh and whole-grain food in over half of the district’s elementary schools, where at least 45 percent of students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch. In order to qualify for the matching grant, Fresh Approach must raise $25,000 in local donations by Dec. 31 and an additional $25,000 by June 30.

The district has established Fresh Approach in all nine elementary schools, with plans to expand district-wide next school year. The new menu includes entrees prepared from scratch on premises, self-serve fresh fruit and veggie stations, increased use of whole wheat products, replacement of all snacks with low or no nutritional value by healthier snacks, and hormone-free skim milk, all without increasing the cost to students and parents. Adults are invited to eat lunch with their child at school for a small fee.

The school district says it is underfunded when it comes to increased food costs, critical kitchen equipment, and required staff training because Fresh Approach is above and beyond state and federal mandates. It can only become sustainable with high student participation rates and community financial support, the school district said. Nearly 20 community partners have supported the Fresh Approach initiative and include Vail Resorts, the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Lulu B Wines and Alpine Bank and many others. Upcoming collaborators and events include:

• Saturday at the Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek – discounted spa and salon services 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and a Girls Night Out Party 5-8 p.m. for $40 that includes food and wine from 8100 and other goodies. Learn more at or call 970-748-7500 and mention Fresh Approach for discounts on salon and lodging. Proceeds go to Fresh Approach.

• Colorado Mountain College supports Fresh Approach through its Lifelong Learning Classes. Healthy Cooking Classes will be offered throughout the year and a portion of proceeds will benefit Fresh Approach. Register for a class at 970-569-2900.

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