Free breakfast for kids at two elementary schools in Cody - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Free breakfast for kids at two elementary schools in Cody

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Kids in Cody are getting free breakfast at two elementary schools.  All of the students in each school are eligible.  The pilot program is popular with the teachers and the students at Eastside Elementary School. Kids in Cody are getting free breakfast at school…all the kids.

Before the school day starts, the food preparation begins. Pre-packaged food, juices, and milk are loaded into carriers. Teachers helpers grab the carriers loaded onto carts and take them to the classrooms.

All the students know they can grab what they want, or not. Their parents’ income doesn’t matter here.

Eastside Elementary Teacher Ryan Cowger said, “They love it. They enjoy it.  I have 13 out of 14 students eat every day.”

Some parents don’t want their children to eat processed foods. Some just aren’t in favor of free breakfast. So, how does it feel for one student in Mr. Cowger’s class, who doesn’t eat?

He answered, “She doesn’t feel ostracized at all. She just sits down and does what she’s supposed to do. They just eat and have conversation.”

One teacher didn’t like the idea at first.

Staci Kroeker explained, “The students and I were a little bit concerned with our routine: trying to get our work done and eat at the same time. But, after two days of trying it, all the students work while they eat. I love it. The kids are so happy.”

Cowger commented, “They have a full stomach in the morning and they’re able to concentrate throughout the day.”

School Nutrition Director Genevieve Sheets said, “This is an important tool for educators. It gets nutrition to all the students, so we’ve removed that question in the day.  The students aren’t distracted by hunger in the classroom.”

Principal Nicholas Gallagher said Eastside Elementary used to offer breakfast before school for students who paid, and students who qualified for free and reduced lunches. 

But, he said, “We do have a much greater number of students who participate now that it’s offered universally after the bell.”

Kroeker explained, “Some students ate already at home, but what I’m finding out is the majority of kids only had a tiny bit of food, because the morning is quick.”

But, what do the parents think? Kroeker got an earful at a recent parent teacher conference:

She said, “And I had multiple parents say, ‘Thank you for feeding my student, my child at school.’”

The students get a hot breakfast one day a week. The district nutritionist said the meals cost about a dollar each. She doesn’t know yet what it will cost the district, but she said federal funds will help pay for the meals. 

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