School breakfast is a critical way to end childhood hunger. No Kid Hungry’s School Breakfast Hero award celebrates school building staff who are helping to ensure all kids in Michigan have access to a healthy school breakfast.
Four NHA schools received this award for the increase in the number of breakfasts served from October 2019 to October 2021. They are: East Arbor Charter Academy, Keystone Academy, Knapp Charter Academy, and South Canton Scholars Charter Academy.
This award is presented by No Kid Hungry Michigan, Milk Means More, and the Michigan Department of Education as the 2022 No Kid Hungry Michigan School Breakfast Heroes. These schools were chosen based on the impressive increase in average daily participation percent (ADP%) when comparing breakfast participation.
None of the schools had breakfast programs in October 2019, so they went from zero breakfasts served, to the following in October 2021: East Arbor - 3,708; Keystone Academy - 4,606; Knapp Academy - 6,043; and South Canton - 5,128.
“New this year is offering a hot breakfast and it has really gone over quite well. We serve pancakes, French toast sticks, breakfast sandwiches, and a cinnamon bun. We also have cereal kits that scholars can choose,” Sarah Wells, Food and Nutrition procurement and compliance specialist said.
“We have also changed our serving model to provide what we call a bulk meal. Students can actually see the food being put onto the plate. They're smelling the food, looking at the colors, and the quality of the food. Then they can help themselves to the choices of fresh fruit that we have.”
Congratulations to all the Food and Nutrition and K-12 by Elior, formerly Preferred Meals, staff who personally feed our scholars on a regular basis, but in particular to these K-12 by Elior employees at the four schools that received the award:
- East Arbor
- Twonia Warren
- Jessica Winston
- Asia Gillespie
- Ron Alexander
- Eda Komora
- Kaylee Watkins
- Knapp Academy
- Pam Lammers
- Scharme Devries
- Bridget DeGraff
- Laura Zuidema
- South Canton
- Diana McCraken
- Julie Helms
“Our team (Food and Nutrition Services) is so grateful for the strong partnership with our food service vendor K-12 by Elior and school staff at all the schools. The breakfast participation numbers for our schools have risen across the board and we realize this could not happen without tremendous effort from every stakeholder,” said Dan Kuk, Manager of Food and Nutrition Services. “It is our mission to continue to build upon our food service programs and offerings to provide students the best service.”
Another factor in driving higher participation numbers was schools who took advantage of available waivers, such as free breakfast for all students. The pandemic drove a variety of creative ways to deliver meals, allowing students to eat in non-congregate settings while also allowing them to receive multiple days of meals at a time, and having “open” meal sites available to all kids under the age of 18.
Perhaps the biggest driver of increasing breakfast participation was having a highly motivated and encouraging cafeteria staff and building administration. Please congratulate these 2022 No Kid Hungry School Breakfast Hero schools that truly worked to ensure all our scholars had access to a healthy breakfast!