â??Muscles stronger and our brains smarter!" That's a slogan Mrs. Maloneyâ??s kindergarten class in Iron River has adopted as a result of the free breakfasts each and every student has been receiving.
â??We are a very rural school district, so many of our children are on the buses very early in the morning, sometimes as early as 6:30 a.m., so by the time they get to school, even if they had breakfast, they're hungry,â?? said kindergarten teacher, Denise Maloney. â??Some children maybe don't have breakfast at home before they come to school, and it's a long wait until lunch time.â??
This prompted the West Iron County School District to apply for state grant funding through the Action for Healthy Kids program. The district received $15,000 of funding through the program, the only school in the entire state of Michigan to receive full funding.
â??So this year, every single child in our school district, Pre-K through 12th grade, is receiving a free breakfast in the classroom regardless of their income.
Previously, the district offered free and reduced breakfast in the cafeteria dependent on income, but now the lunch staff delivers 900 breakfasts everyday to fuel up every student. Meals can include foods like cheese, French toast, yogurt and granola, and milk or juice. And the meals are doing more than just filling hungry stomachs.
â??Weâ??ve seen a decrease in our behavioral issues in the classroom; children seem to be more focused, they stay on task,â?? Maloney said.
The district said it's another way they're encouraging healthy living and eating habits in their students.