STILLWATER, Okla., Jun 15, 2011 -- After being awarded two Community Facility Grants from the USDA Rural Development, totaling over $25,500, the Little Dixie Community Action Agency purchased a new food service van and food service equipment. These grants compliment the Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" (KYF2) initiative.
This equipment is being utilized within the Oklahoma counties of Choctaw, Pushmataha and McCurtain. All of the children within the three-county service area, approximately 449 per year, will benefit from the new food service equipment and vehicle.
"It helps us to continue to further our mission of promoting healthy eating and will assist us in promoting the use of locally grown foods and participate more fully in utilizing local, fresher foods from local markets," said Dawn McDaniel Little Dixie’s head start/early head start director.
One of the grants helped the agency purchase a 2011 food service van. It is used to cater food from one central location to schools across the counties.
"One of Little Dixie Head Start’s goals is to provide the children with an appealing and healthy daily diet for their physical development and to encourage proper lifelong nutrition," McDaniel said. "Prior to receipt of this food service vehicle, we were delivering food in a dated dilapidated vehicle that was not properly equipped for food transportation and had food spillage and stains due to years of usage."
The other grant, totaling $8,571, allowed them to purchase a new ice machine and automated lift.
McDaniel said the equipment supplies the ice necessary to ensure food containers keep food within a safe temperature range during transport. The lift allows staff members to load and unload food containers more easily.
"The community has been very appreciative of the new equipment which allows us to continue to enhance our food and nutrition program and provide quality services to children and families," McDaniel said. "This is a great opportunity for the program and the children and families served."
These new items will assist the rural community in promoting and utilizing fresh, locally grown foods, McDaniel noted. This is one of the goals of the KYF2 initiative.
USDA Rural Development grants such as these help promote the KYF2 initiative and its goals in rural communities across the country. The program’s goals include stimulating agricultural economic development, improving farmer and rancher opportunities, and increasing accessibility to affordable, safe food. The Little Dixie CAA grants were funded through the Community Facility Grant Program.
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Community Facility Grant Program, provides grants to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population. Grants are available to public entities to aid in the development or improvement of community facilities. Funds can be used to construct, enlarge, or improve community facilities for health care, public safety, and community and public services. Projects funded through the program will enhance the quality of life in rural America.
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