The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is on the rise in the United States. Of schools that serve lunch, 92.5 percent also serve breakfast, feeding 14.6 million kids breakfast every day. Of these, 12.1 million come from low-income families. Despite the great effort to provide all kids breakfast, many K-12 schools struggle with low student participation rates.
Why Do Kids Skip Breakfast?
It’s important to understand why kids skip breakfast. The traditional breakfast model that is served in the cafeteria is meant to be eaten there. Oftentimes these foods are not properly packaged to be taken out of the location and eaten elsewhere. So, when breakfast is served in the cafeteria prior to school hours, chances are that some kids aren’t aware of it. Or maybe they don’t want to walk to the cafeteria, preferring to play with their peers. Also, most K-12 kids are dependent on their parents’ schedule and morning commute to work. As a result, some kids won’t even make it to school early enough to have breakfast. Other kids may not even be hungry that early in the morning.
Implement Effective Strategies
School foodservice professionals can implement effective Grab and Go strategies to make it convenient for kids to participate in the breakfast program. Instead of serving breakfast only in the cafeteria, bring the breakfast to the kids. One of the proven ways to boost breakfast participation is by offering convenient breakfast models such as Grab and Go Breakfast. Schools can stock mobile carts or kiosks with cold or hot breakfast items, place these carts or kiosks in hallways or at the main entrance. Kids can quickly grab breakfast on their way to the classroom without arriving late.
A recent article in publicsource shared how North Hills Middle School in Ross Township, PA, increased their student breakfast participation after implementing Grab and Go and serving breakfast from a cart by the school entrance. Before the cart, students had an 8-minute walk to the cafeteria.
“Participation was pretty low in this building and we realized just the location of where we were serving breakfast was the biggest challenge,” said Lindsay Radzvin, Director of Food Services for the Ross Township School district.
Since adding the cart, Radvin added, breakfast participation has noticeably improved from previous years and contributes a lot of the success to the mobile cart.
Look for the Right Equipment
Researching online for the right equipment to support your Grab and Go program can be overwhelming, but it’s necessary for meeting the goal. Make sure you select equipment that is easy to put together and move around on campus or hallways. Also, select a solution that can be adjusted to hold a variety of items, not just what you offer today.
Cambro offers several Grab and Go solutions such as the Flex Station and the CamKiosk. Both equipment can easily be configured to store items and be moved to ideal locations to reach more kids. Schools can choose to personalize their equipment with logos, menu displays or other fun designs for more attention.
- Easy to assemble, configure and adjust.
- Requires minimal storage space.
- Simple to maneuver through hallways.
- Recommended for serving cold or chill foods.
- Fits a variety of food pans and food boxes.
- Easy to assemble and configure.
- Durable, all-weather exterior with smooth rolling casters that lock in place.
- Customizable counter space or food compartment.
- Holds colds and hot foods.
It’s no secret that kids who eat breakfast perform better academically and are stronger physically. With effective breakfast programs K-12 school foodservice professionals can meet their goals for breakfast participation while helping kids excel.
Breakfast for All
Schools in need of financial assistance to implement School Breakfast Programs can receive federal funds through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and receive reimbursement for the cost of feeding kids from low income families. Eligible kids will have breakfast every day for free or at reduced-price.
Connect with your local Cambro Representative to learn how you can implement an effective Grab and Go program and provide breakfast to all kids.