Breakfast Grant: Elm Street School
Elm Street Elementary School, part of RSU 16 in Mechanic Falls has the highest rate of child hunger in the district, with 57% of students eligible for free and reduced price school meals. At the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year, school nutrition staff was concerned that they were not reaching many students at breakfast: only about 90 students out of 296 were participating, and only 75 of the 167 eligible were accessing breakfast. Breakfast was being served before the first bell in the cafeteria, which was at the opposite end of the school from where the buses dropped students off. School Nutrition Director Ellen Dore knew that in order to reach more kids something needed to change, and so she applied for a $4,130 grant from Full Plates Full Potential to purchase a Grab and Go Breakfast Cart and Point of Sale System to serve breakfast in the classroom after the bell.
The benefits of this investment were immediate and significant. In the first month, the breakfast count had increased to serving 115 students a day and continued to rise to the point that 130-140 students are eating school breakfast every day. The school nurse has reported a reduction in visits to her office (which are often due to stomach aches and headaches from hungry bellies), and teachers have alert students starting the day ready to learn. This success has resulted in RSU 16 applying for a second grant to implement Breakfast After the Bell at the Minot Community School.