Long Beach Unified School District Nutrition Services earned more than $500,000 in federal economic stimulus funds this week to buy new food preparation equipment.
The school district will receive a $524,994 Equipment Assistance Grant, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The money will be used primarily to replace aging freezer and refrigeration equipment at up to 55 schools.
To earn the grant, LBUSD had to demonstrate how the new and upgraded equipment would help school cafeteria workers serve more student meals while increasing nutritional quality, food safety and energy efficiency. Funding priority was given to schools with at least 50 percent of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
By including competitive bids for all equipment requested in the proposal, a step that usually occurs only after a grant is awarded, LBUSD Food Service staff showed that the district was well prepared to move quickly on its request, a requirement of the stimulus grant.
"The next step is to work with the grant analyst to determine what specific items we can purchase," said Cecelia Slater, Nutrition Services director. "Our intent is to have all installations complete by September."