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Students in Waynesboro, Va. Get “Second Chance” to Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Kate Collins Middle School
Waynesboro, Virginia

Thanks to a $2,100 School Breakfast grant from Action for Healthy Kids, made possible by Kellogg Company, students at Kate Collins Middle School in Waynesboro, Virginia have not just one, but two opportunities to eat a nutritious breakfast at the start of the school day.

With the goal of getting kids fed and focused for learning, the school implemented a Second Chance Breakfast program—a school breakfast model that typically offers breakfast in the morning before school starts and again during morning recess or a break. The idea is to feed students who aren’t able to eat before school begins due to such barriers as food insecurity, family schedules, transportation issues, or simply because they’re not hungry first thing in the morning. It also helps reduce the stigma associated with school breakfast, as it becomes part of the school day just like eating lunch.

Using its AFHK grant funds, the school purchased a much-needed breakfast cart and created an advertising campaign to help inform students about breakfast availability. Before the school day begins, the sales cart is set up in high-traffic areas to engage students as they make their way to class. Then, at the end of first period, two of the school’s nutrition specialists make the rounds to the different grade-level hallways with carts of breakfast items, going door to door to each classroom to invite students out to the hallway to retrieve their breakfast items if they missed the first breakfast of the day.

Tamera Coffey, district food service/child nutrition director, said the response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive. Teachers and administrators are more engaged in and supportive of school breakfast, parents are providing encouraging feedback, and—most importantly—students appreciate the opportunity to get breakfast later in the morning. The proof is in the numbers: average daily participation in Second Chance breakfast increased by 55% from October 2016 to January 2018, with the school also seeing an upsurge in cafeteria revenue.

Julie Stevens, Kate Collins athletic director and PE teacher, summed it up, saying, “This has been the best opportunity for our breakfast program here at Kate Collins. More students that arrive early morning or late are now able to get breakfast mid-morning, helping them focus more in the classroom.”