Tens of thousands of kids in Massachusetts live in food insecure households. For students who start their day hungry, school breakfast can be the difference between sitting unfocused at their desk and a productive day of learning. That’s why school breakfast is so important, and why Project Bread has awarded $123,000 in grants— along with our expertise and support—to help schools implement “Breakfast After the Bell”. A school breakfast model proven to dramatically increase participation by as much as 80%.
Here are just a few ways schools are working with Project Bread to better their breakfast programs:
Bellamy Middle School was committed to finding which breakfast model would work best for each grade. After taking a close look, Project Bread is helping them implement two different breakfast models.“Grab & Go” for the 6th and 7th graders will keep the younger students closer to their classrooms to help them get settled in earlier. And “2nd Chance Breakfast” will cater to the older 8th graders, who tend to feel hungrier later in the morning.
”For many of our students, the meals we provide in school may be their only meals of the day; providing a well-balanced, nutritious, filling meal is of the utmost importance, as well as empowering them to understand the benefits of proper nutrition.”
Melanie Wilk, School Nutrition Director, Chicopee Public Schools
Koziol Elementary School has a tricky floor plan. The principal was concerned that the maze of ramps and stairs throughout the school was keeping students from getting to the cafeteria in time for breakfast before the day officially started. Participation was only around 38%. With the support from Project Bread and a grant that enabled breakfast kiosks to be strategically place around the building, students are now able to pick-up their breakfast on their classrooms floor. With this change, more than half the schools is now eating breakfast each day, and participation continues to grow.
It may not surprise you that many kids don't like eating breakfast in the cafeteria before school. They feel singled out, or worse, like "the poor kids" in school.
“The district is highly committed to ensuring that all students have access to healthy, locally-sourced food through our Food Services Program.”
Michael Morris, Superintendent, Amherst-Pelham Public Schools
Each day, students in the elementary schools of Amherst-Pelham Regional School District start their day with a nature walk. Students who eat school breakfast were missing the nature walk to be in the cafeteria, and were feeling singled out. Project Bread is helping the district make changes to serve "Breakfast in the Classroom" to all four of their elementary schools. Not only will this add structure to the morning for their youngest students, everyone will have equitable and inclusive access to a nutritious meal in the morning.
Grant recipients are working with Project Bread to improve their school breakfast programs in these key areas: creating healthier breakfast menu items, accessing free breakfast for every student through Community Eligibility Provision II, and implementing a Breakfast After the Bell model.
Author(s): Project Bread