Celebrating School Breakfast Week with Sen. Balint
Food Connects celebrated National School Breakfast Week during the first week of March by inviting Vermont State Senator Becca Balint to join Food Connects' Farm to School Team — Sheila Humphreys and Kate Venne — for breakfast with Allegra Carignan's Kindergarten class at Green Street School.
Humphreys and Venne met Sen. Balint at the school at 8 a.m., just as students were finding their way into classrooms to join their classmates for breakfast. Green Street School serves Breakfast After the Bell in all classrooms, and breakfast participation at Green Street is the highest of all the schools in Windham County, with a whopping 89% of students participating.
As the special guests entered the classroom, they were greeted warmly by Ms. Carignan and her curious students. At Green Street School, breakfast is served in classrooms at the start of each day. The Food Connects team and Sen. Balint sat down to a meal of freshly baked blueberry muffins, cheese sticks, and fruit juice with a group of very sweet 5-year-olds.
Over breakfast, students reported that their favorite breakfast at school is bagels, except for the one student at the table who usually eats breakfast at home, and his favorite breakfast is Lucky Charms. Other commonly served breakfast items include hard boiled eggs, fresh toast, cereal, and scrambled eggs. The students chatted about their pets while Ms. Carignan circulated around the room greeting everyone and collecting their lunch orders. As the group finished breakfast, they joined their classmates on the rug to participate in the morning meeting and sing a song to start their day.
After breakfast, Humphreys and Venne retired to the school library to talk with Sen. Balint about the importance of school breakfast and other school meals. School breakfast, and particularly Breakfast After the Bell and Universal Meals, are a huge benefit to children in the Brattleboro community. Students are able to start their day with a nourishing breakfast that is available in the classroom to every student and doesn't require a child to have to choose between eating breakfast at school in the morning or playing on the playground at the start of the day. That means more children eat breakfast which means improved behavior, improvements in school climate, more students who start the day ready to learn, and a reduction in nurse visits. In addition, Brattleboro Town Schools have Universal Meals, which is an enormous help to children in Brattleboro because it eliminates stigma and makes nourishing meals accessible to all students. Additionally, increased participation in school meal programs leads to increased financial viability, which ultimately results in improved food quality — commonly referred to as the Virtuous Cycle of School Meals.
Have you eaten breakfast or lunch at a school lately? Food Connects and the Brattleboro Town Schools meal program encourages you to try it. In fact, Chef Ali West and Humphreys went to Montpelier a couple of weeks ago for School Nutrition Day at the State House and invited all of the legislators from WSESU to have breakfast or lunch in a school in their district. If you'd like to try a meal at a local school, just be sure to call ahead and let them know you're coming.
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