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April 14, 2013

North Park serving up breakfast

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In order to catch students who are eligible for free and reduced meals but still aren’t having breakfast, the Lockport City School District is bringing the most important meal of the day to their classrooms.

Since the end of January, the district has been piloting such a program at North Park Junior High School. Breakfast in the Classroom is an initiative run by Aramark that allows students to choose their breakfast items from a cart that is arranged outside of their classroom.

The program encourages students who may not have the time or resources to eat breakfast at home to enjoy the most important meal of the day, Tom Heagerty and Noreen Czyzak of Aramark told the Lockport Board of Education on Wednesday. 

Aramark provides food and nutrition services to over 3,000 schools nationwide. The company became Lockport’s meal provider prior to this school year, when Aramark turned out to be the lowest bidder. The district was required to bid out the meal services, as a result of new federal legislation.

Students who eat breakfast regularly are healthier and do better in school, Czyzak said. And from 1998 to 2008 families across the country with inadequate meals has risen about 24 percent, according to Aramark.

Czyzak said the effects of not eating breakfast regularly could be seen at North Park.

“When we walked up and down the halls we saw a lot of this,” she said, slouching and hanging her head.

The program is open to all students. At North Park, 252 students on average take part in the Breakfast in the Classroom program, with 195 of them eligible for free and reduced meals. Those are increases from the usual average of 81 breakfast meals per day that were given, 74 of which were kids eligible for free and reduced meals.

“They weren’t coming to the cafeteria,” Czyzak said.

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