Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently announced that an additional $2 million will be added to expand school breakfast programs in the commonwealth this year.
But if we left it up to first-graders, that $2 million would likely be spent on one food item.
“Pizza! The best thing,” said Antonio Medrano, first-grader at Apple Pie Ridge Elementary.
Fortunately, these decisions are left up to Frederick County officials who try to make sure each student is well fed before class.
“We have several different types of implementation of the breakfast program. We have a hot breakfast program where the students get a hot reimbursable meal and also, we offer grab-and-go breakfast at some of our schools where the student can get a bag with the breakfast already prepared in it,” said Jennifer White, nutrition services supervisor, FCPS.
Second-grader Xavier Spriggs eats breakfast at Apple Pie Ridge Elementary every day.
“Lots of them I like, like the waffles and the pancakes. The pancakes are one of my favorites because that’s new to the school and that’s like chocolate pancakes,” Xavier said while describing some of his favorite breakfast treats.
With so many breakfast favorites in one place, it’s no surprise that the numbers in Frederick County – just like the state – are increasing.
“Frederick County has approximately 34 percent of students that receive free and reduced breakfast. So, this may be their only breakfast or hot lunch of the day – maybe their only two meals of the day,” White said.
According to the governor, nearly five million more breakfasts were served last school year compared to the 2014-2015, and students will tell you that having a hot breakfast makes a big difference.
“Yeah! [I’m] more ready to learn, to take on the day. Yeah, about that – I actually like learning,” Medrano said.
White said all families can apply for the free and reduces meal program. She said they can do it for free at any point in the school year and parents might be surprised to learn that they qualify.