Increasing School Breakfast Participation
Educators agree that the most important meal of the day for students is breakfast. A hungry student will have more difficulty learning than one who is well nourished. Unfortunately many students that could be receiving school breakfast in San Mateo County are missing out. Through funding from Get Healthy SMC, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) to lead a pilot project in South San Francisco Unified School District and Jefferson Elementary School District to increase breakfast participation. In partnership with the UC Cooperative Extension, the SMC Family Health team, and Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, the partners surveyed parents to better understand why students are not participating in school breakfast, even when they are participating in school lunch. One key barrier that was identified was the difficulty of getting children to school on time to receive breakfast. In response to the survey findings, the food service directors at SSFUSD and JESD have begun piloting a Breakfast After the Bell model, that allows students to receive breakfast after the school day starts. The hope is to take the findings from this pilot project and encourage other local districts to adopt similar programs.