Gowanda teams up with HCA, Food Bank for program

GOWANDA – Students in Gowanda who received free or reduced lunches may be eligible for a new program that will be started in the Gowanda Elementary School.

“We received notification that we were accepted into the backpack program,” Janice Stokes, elementary principal said. “This is through the Healthy Com-munity Alliance and the Food Bank of Western New York. They will provide food for children on the weekends.”

On Fridays, selected children who are eligible will receive nonperishable items for two breakfasts, two lunches, two snacks, a can of fruit and a can of vegetables.

All food comes from the Food Bank of Western New York and the local food pantry in Gowanda. Parents of students need to opt-in to the program and students must be eligible for free or reduced lunch at school. Stokes will be the only person who will know what children are participating in the program. She said Gowanda is the first district to participate in this program in Cattaraugus County.

“We’re looking forward to this,” Stokes said, saying the program will start toward the end of March.

Superintendent Charles Rinaldi said the district has received $55,000 for the elementary and middle schools for purchase of technology to implement new online testing requirements in 2014-2015 school year. The funding will cover the software, hardware and training for the implementation.

The funding comes from a settlement between New York state and Microsoft.

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