By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
Every time a school bus pulls up to Chase County Schools (CCS) in the morning, a wave of hungry students invades the cafeteria.
They’re lined up for the new breakfast program, initiated this fall by the school board.
Cafeteria Manager Cynthia Brunkhorst said her staff feeds an average of 50 students per day.
“I see a lot of the same faces. But this week, there have been some new ones. I think word of mouth is getting around,” she said.
School Board President Jeff Olsen said he and several board members were pushing for the federal breakfast program.
“We felt kids were coming to school hungry. Teachers were feeding them in the classroom out of their own pockets,” he stated.
Olsen said research shows that hungry children have problems learning. He feels the program will address that problem, and also improve the school’s education goals.
The program is financed by the federal government, with those students who don’t qualify for free or reduced meals paying for their meal. No general fund money is used, Olsen noted.
The hot breakfast costs $1.30 for students and $1.50 for adults.
Brunkhorst said the breakfast has to meet federal guidelines. “They’re pushing grains more than anything else now,” she noted.
She’s constantly looking for new recipes that meet those guidelines. Homemade food such as blueberry bubble bread, breakfast pizza, pumpkin muffins, Longhorn granola bars and egg wraps are proving popular, she said.
Federal guidelines are becoming more and more stringent, Brunkhorst stated, especially concerning sodium and calorie content at present.
A typical breakfast buffet may include pancakes or dry cereal, toast, juice boxes, milk and a fruit. The students have the choice of the pancakes or cereal, but all must have fruit.
Breakfast is served from 7:45-8:05 a.m.
CCS has offered breakfast items in the past, but they were al a carte and didn’t have to follow federal nutritional guidelines.