Lincoln Middle School marked National School Breakfast Week on March 8 with some healthy breakfast pizzas and the acceptance of a $1,200 check from the Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council to promote student wellness.
Full Plates Full Potential and the Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative (MHI) held a press event at the school gymnasium to announce the kick-off of a weeklong statewide School Breakfast Participation Challenge.
To help all Maine kids get the nutrition they need to succeed, Full Plates Full Potential and the Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition program are challenging all Maine schools to increase their breakfast participation, starting during National School Breakfast Week. That’s an annual celebration of school breakfast promoted by the School Nutrition Association, which runs March 7-11 this year.
The three Maine schools with the greatest increase in breakfast participation since March 2015 will each receive $500 toward their nutrition programs. Each district may enter as many of their schools as they wish.
Jane McLucas, the new food service director for Portland Public Schools, Jan Bindas-Tenney, Preble Street advocacy coordinator, and Maine Sen. Justin Alfond (D-Portland) spoke about strategies for ensuring that no Maine child goes hungry.
Students who eat school breakfast earn better grades, concentrate more easily, participate more in class and have better overall health. The School Breakfast Program is designed to level the playing field by allowing all students to start their day full and ready to learn.
Nearly 48 percent of Maine children qualify for free or reduced school meals but only 40 percent of those that qualify are currently accessing school breakfast. Maine school districts are encouraged to work on increasing school breakfast participation in order to help students be healthy and fulfill their potential.
As part of Lincoln Middle School’s efforts to increase school breakfast participation, students sampled breakfast pizzas made by physical education teacher Denise Preisser’s wellness club.
Hillary Knight of Smiling Hill Farm also presented a $1,200 check to Lincoln Middle School on behalf of dairy farmers across the state. The funds, a grant from Maine’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program, will be used to promote physical fitness and healthy eating initiatives.
*This article was first posted on the Portland Public Schools website.