Palm Beach County schools fight hunger through breakfast

Local schools fight hunger through breakfast
Posted at 10:09 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 03:01:12-04

It's a sign of the times.

When kids are hungry, they go to school to eat. Each district has programs in place to feed students breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner.

In Palm Beach County, the lines for breakfast are growing so long they had to come up with a new way to feed kids faster.

And they did.

Palm Beach County School District leaders know too many students come to school without eating dinner the night before. So for years, most schools have a free breakfast program.

But now there's a new initiative in place to feed more kids.

"This is like a little kick boost to start off my day," said Jordon Earle, an 11th grade student at Forest Hill Community High School.

Forest Hill is one of eight schools in the district that now offers breakfast to more students thanks to a new food cart method.

Students grab milk, apples, pastries free of charge and go on their way.

In most schools, the only breakfast choice comes in the cafeteria where the lines are long. Too many kids don't have enough time to eat and get to class.

"You can grab the food, put your number in and go to class without bumping into kids, kids saying weird things to you," said Mia Danson, a FHCHS jnuior.

Sixty-one percent of K-12 students in Palm Beach County are eligible for free and reduced meals. That number is 84 percent at Forest Hill Community HS.

"Where they don't necessarily know where their next meal is coming from," said Allison Monbleau, director of school food service for the district. "We always look for ways to reach kids with meals, whether it's breakfast or lunch."

"It's all confidential. We don't know if you're on free and reduced or not, it doesn't matter... Students have the opportunity to get an extra meal in the morning to push them through the day," said Dr. Mary Stratos, Forest Hill Community HS principal.

The district won a $64,000 grant from Kelloggs breakfasts for Better Days to feed its students. They used the cash to buy the food carts.

Thanks to this new breakfast cart, the district is able to serve over 800 more students per day. That adds up to thousands of more breakfasts each year for students who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to eat breakfast.

The district is working to get more money to expand the food cart program to more schools as soon as next school year.