Portland School Notebook

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Portland Public Schools team up for food drive

PORTLAND — Students at Hall Elementary School and Portland High School teamed up during November to collect food for the Wayside Food Programs.

Students brought boxes, bags and cans of non-perishable items to school. Seven students from the Portland High Student Council helped pack to donated food and delivered it to Wayside. The combined effort collected seven crates of food weighing nearly 400 pounds.

Hall’s business partner, Bangor Savings Bank, also participated in the food drive. In addition to food donations, the bank gave $250 to Wayside.

Portland cafeterias aim for better nutrition

PORTLAND — Cafeterias in Portland’s elementary schools recently received a makeover aimed at teaching children about how to choose foods that make a healthy, balanced diet.

Improvements to the school lunch program, including colorful posters and banners pointing children to healthier choices, were supported by $462,908 from the Communities Putting Prevention to Work federal grant. The new signs contain nutrition advice from the newly released USDA MyPlate guidelines that remind children to eat healthfully.

In addition to the new banners in the cafeteria, coloring pages with nutrition messages will be available to schools and parents, and nutrition information will be posted in the district’s secondary school cafeterias later this year.

This promotion is a part of a multi-year effort to improve the quality of Portland’s school lunch program. Every school cafeteria now has a self-serve bar with fresh fruit, vegetables, grains and legume choices. Additionally, the district’s central kitchen is cooking more food from scratch and serving more local produce, meat and fish, including vegetables grown in the schools’ gardens.

With the grant, Healthy Portland will receive $1.8 million in stimulus funds through March 2012 to prevent obesity by increasing physical activity and improving nutrition.

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Hall Elementary students collect food for Wayside Soup Kitchen.