On Oct. 24, Gov. Roy Cooper announced he is directing $1.4 million in federal funding to expand school breakfast programs. Each school district can receive a maximum of $50,000 in grants.
The grants will help implement innovative programs to increase student involvement in school breakfast. The governor is partnering with North Carolina Alliance for Health and Carolina Hunger Initiative on the program, which uses money left over from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund.
Andrew Harrell, the program and communications manager with the Carolina Health Initiative, said people in Cooper's office who knew about the school breakfast programs asked the Carolina Hunger Initiative for ideas on how to best utilize the funds to support school nutrition.
“This is something that we have worked on for a long time, Gov. Cooper has been really interested in for a long time, so it was just a good culmination of a lot of different efforts,” Morgan Wittman Gramann, the executive director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health, said.
Breakfast in the Classroom, one of the most effective school breakfast programs according to national campaign No Kid Hungry, allows students to eat breakfast while working on lessons with teachers.
Harrell said Glenn Elementary School in Durham — where Cooper announced the funding — has added 30 minutes of instructional time to the morning by moving breakfast into the classroom.
“We're hearing from principals and teachers and superintendents who are really passionate about [school breakfast programs] and who have seen the effects they've had on their classrooms and their students,” he said.
Wittman Gramann said districts and schools can choose where to focus the programs and how to structure them in a way that works best for their schedule, staff and students.
Districts with schools that are new to the federal Community Eligibility Provision program — which provides free meals to students in schools with high rates of low-income and at-risk students — will be given priority for the grants.