DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and now, thanks to a new program, more children in the Dallas Independent School District will have access to it.
At Lenore Kirk Hall Elementary in Oak Cliff, students start each day with a lesson in nutrition; they eat breakfast at their desk.
“Sometimes when I don’t eat, I get sleepy. But when I eat, I get more energy,” explained student Abigail Arellano.
Abigail and other students get their first meal of the day through a new program called Breakfast in the Classroom.
About 87-percent of DISD students qualify for free or reduced meals, but only 30-40 of them came to the cafeteria for breakfast.
More students are eating now that the meal is being brought to them.
Student Carlos Martinez says the program helps him in two ways. “I like it because that way I can sleep more and eat in the classroom.”
Teachers say they’ve seen a difference since Breakfast in the Classroom started in April. “I’ve noticed the children have a bit more energy, more enthusiasm for learning and I don’t have to stay on them so much about focusing on their work,” teacher Maria Cruz said of the positive effects.
Some students were coming to school so hungry, they became sick. “They have what’s called ‘transient hunger’,” explained Dora Rivas, the DISD Executive Director of Food and Child Nutrition Services. “They might have headaches, stomach cramps as well as they start getting tired. They’re not as attentive.”
Because of Breakfast in the Classroom there have also been fewer students visits to the school nurse.
Funded by the WalMart Foundation, the program is currently on seven DISD campuses and seven more will participate next year.
Students do not miss out on classroom time to eat breakfast. The meal is served during announcements, and while teachers are taking attendance.