DES MOINES, Iowa – Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service made a stop at Brubaker Elementary School Friday morning to check up on the status of the school’s free breakfast program.
The program, as part of the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision, provides more than 14,000 schools across the nation in high-poverty areas a no-cost breakfast option to boost participation among students in eating breakfast before school. A 9 percent increase in participation was found just after the first year of the CEP implementation nation-wide. Brubaker Elementary, in its second year of the program, is one of 37 schools and early-learning centers in the Des Moines school district to offer no-cost meals to students.
Representatives with the USDA say it’s okay for students to get breakfast at home before school, as well; the no-cost option offered at the school is simply to encourage students to start their day off with good nutrition.
“The most important message that we want to tell for kids is, start your day off with good nutrition,” said Darlene Sanchez with the USDA. “And obviously, we do offer it through the school meals programs. But more importantly we want to make sure it’s education; it’s nutrition education for kids.”