Erie’s Public Schools Receives Grant to Fund Breakfast in the Classroom Program
Erie’s Public Schools and its foodservice provider, Metz Culinary Management, have expanded the Breakfast in the Classroom program to serve 13 schools in the district thanks to a grant awarded by Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom and funded by the Walmart Foundation. The Breakfast in the Classroom program is designed to give children of all incomes a free breakfast at the start of the school day.
“Breakfast is vital to children’s performance in school. It is proven to decrease hunger, decrease risk of obesity, increase concentration, improve grades and promote better behavior,” said Jenny Johns, Metz Culinary Management Assistant Food Service Director at Erie School District. “We found that only 16-44 percent of children, depending on the school in the district, were eating breakfast. We needed to make a change to improve participation.”
Breakfast is delivered directly to the classroom, at no charge, in an effort to improve participation in the federally funded School Breakfast Program and boost learning and health.
Prior to receiving the grant, four schools piloted the Breakfast in the Classroom program. The schools observed participation rates reaching up to 85 percent and feedback was positive: teachers reported that students were more focused, quieter, and required fewer trips to the nurse. In the future, each school will be monitoring grades and attendance rates as part of the program implementation.
Erie’s Public Schools was selected based on the number of students that qualify for free or reduced-price meals, average daily participation in the school breakfast program and district and school-level support.
Erie’s Public Schools receives federal funding to provide free breakfasts to all students in the cafeteria before school starts. However, many students have trouble arriving early enough, resulting in low participation rates. The Breakfast in the Classroom program eliminates an obstacle by making eating breakfast in the classroom a routine part of every student’s day.
Every day, cafeteria staff will deliver breakfast to each classroom in the school. The breakfast will consist of milk, juice, fruit, and a “breakfast break,” which is either a cracker or breakfast bar accompanied by cereal made with whole grains.
About Metz Culinary Management
Metz Culinary Management provides dining and environmental management services for clients in a variety of settings, including hospitals, public and independent schools, colleges, long-term care facilities, corporate offices and manufacturing facilities. Metz is a family-driven company that collaborates with its clients to deliver restaurant-inspired hospitality to each and every guest. Food Management Magazine named Metz one of the Top 20 Management Companies in the U.S. and one of the Top 5 Firms to Watch. For more information on Metz Culinary Management, visit www.metzculinary.com