Anna Marchefka has been a teacher at Greenfield Middle School for six years. When she first started at the school, there was no school breakfast program, and she was spending a lot of her own money to make sure her students wouldn't be hungry. But three years ago the school implemented a breakfast in the classroom program, and now everything is different.
One of my students was having a bad morning. He arrived at school in a huff. He hadn't had anything to eat for breakfast, and realizing he forgot his favorite hoodie at home only made him even grumpier. It was about to be, as he put it, "the worst day ever."
But then it wasn't.
Because that was just the hunger talking. After a few bites of breakfast at his desk, his shoulders relaxed and his frustration began to fade.
"When I got to school, there was breakfast here for me!" he told me later. "So even though I didn’t have my hoodie, I wasn't hungry anymore and was less grumpy for the rest of the day."
I've been a 5th grade teacher at Greenfield Middle School for six years. About three years ago, our school began a "breakfast in the classroom" program. I cannot emphasize enough the tremendous difference it has made on my students' behavior, attitude and ability to concentrate and learn.
Back before the breakfast program, I was spending a lot of my own money on snacks for my students so they wouldn't be hungry during the day. I saw so many more behavioral issues those years — kids were easily irritable and unable to focus. They were lethargic, dragging along — you could just tell they weren't themselves. I would try to seek out kids who seemed like they were having the most difficulty and provide food for them if I could.
I work with 10-year-olds. They need food to grow. To concentrate and learn in school. To be happy and healthy. Before breakfast in the classroom, kids who hadn't eaten breakfast would have to wait hours until they could eat lunch. That's a long time for a growing kid to go without food. I think even adults like you or me would have an equally hard time paying attention if we were in that same position.
School breakfast is a game-changer. Every one of my students now eats fresh fruit each morning – and they love it. If there's something they don’t like, they just put it in the "share bin." Our share bin always fills up in the morning, and kids can grab snacks from it throughout the day. By the end of the day, it's empty. That speaks volumes to me — clearly, the kids like the food and want to have it available. They don't feel like they need to ask me or admit that they're hungry
As a teacher who has seen firsthand the difference that school breakfast makes for students, I am asking committed supporters like you to make a donation to Project Bread right now to give more children access to this vital source of nutrition.
School breakfast levels the playing field. Nobody feels embarrassed or singled out. And everyone feels cared for. Every student in Massachusetts should have access to breakfast — won't you help us get closer to acheiving this shared goal?
Thank you for your generous support!
5th Grade Teacher
Greenfield Middle School
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