Breakfast Participation Increases 500% at Salemwood School!

New England Patriots Mascot Pat Patriot, State Representatives Paul Brodeur and Paul Donato, and State Senator Jason Lewis read to a class of first-graders.

The new year has already been a great one for Salemwood School of Malden, MA, as staff and students used their New England Dairy & Food Council $10,661 school breakfast grant to offer a free-of-charge breakfast to students each school day. State Senator Jason Lewis, State Representatives Paul Brodeur and Paul Donato, and New England Patriots Mascot Pat Patriot were on hand to greet students, hand out Grab ‘N’ Go breakfasts, and witness Breakfast in the Classroom firsthand.

Students in kindergarten through grade four are now participating in Breakfast in the Classroom. Each school day, a complete, healthful breakfast now awaits them at their desks. For students in grades five through eight, they collect their Grab ‘N’ Go breakfasts from mobile carts in the hallway and eat in the classroom.

“Besides the dairy, the breakfasts contain non-perishable items. If a student only wants to eat the cereal and keep the rest for later, they can put it in their bag and bring it home for a snack, or give the item to another student,” said Assistant Food Service Director Kate Filteau. “For some students, food insecurity is a reality. Whatever the student doesn’t eat at school can be taken home.”

For many families, knowing that a healthful breakfast is waiting at school for their child is a big relief.

“Salemwood’s nutrition department saw a need for greater student accessibility to breakfast and fulfilled it by offering free breakfast to all students,” said Jill Read, RD, LDN and Nutrition Specialist with New England Dairy & Food Council.

Both programs have been in effect since January 9, 2017, yet both have already had great success.

“Student participation in the school breakfast program has increased by 500-percent, from 500 to 3,000 meals served per week,” said District Manager Scott Berry of Whitsons School Nutrition.

After the Senator, State Representatives, and Mascot handed out milk cartons and smoothies, they greeted a first-grade class and read the book Oh, The Things You Can Do That Are Good For You.

“Being present for breakfast with the students offered further insight regarding the need for these school programs,” said State Senator Jason Lewis. “Providing both a morning meal and enough time for students to eat makes Breakfast in the Classroom a winning combination and helps prepare our students for academic success.”

The Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) worked with the principal and school nutrition director to implement the new breakfast programs at Salemwood School. CNOP works with schools and districts across Massachusetts to increase breakfast participation by providing resources and technical assistance at the local level.

“Whenever we work with a school, the center of our concern is always the students,” said Project Bread’s Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Rachel Garside. “We tailor our approach to fit each school community’s unique needs to ensure that all students are able to start each day with a healthy meal that nourishes their bodies and their minds.”

Funding for these breakfast programs was provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farmers of Massachusetts.

Students, schools, and parents can learn more about funding eligibility in the “Funding” section at FuelUpToPlay60.com. For more information about Fuel Up to Play 60 in New England, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Updated January 24, 2017