SPS offers free summer breakfasts

Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Suffolk Public Schools will be participating in the federal summer food service program this year, which provides free breakfast to students from June 30 to July 30.

“It’s an excellent program,” said Brian Williams, supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services for the school system. “It’s a pretty good turnout. Most of the summer school students take advantage of it.”

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children who do not have breakfast are less able to distinguish among similar images, have slower memory recall and have more errors in their work.

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Additionally, the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition reported that children who eat a complete breakfast (as opposed to skipping breakfast or having just a partial breakfast) make fewer mistakes and work faster specifically in math and number-checking tests.

Students enrolled in summer classes will particularly benefit from the summer breakfast program, but breakfasts are also available for any child in need of a meal.

“The program at our open sites is open to anyone, any student,” Williams said. “That’s what is unique and good about this program.”

While the opportunity is there, Williams said that it is rare for children who are not taking summer school classes to take part in the program. Since there are additional programs offered in the city through Suffolk Parks and Recreation and other non-profit organizations, many children elect to take advantage of those programs that also offer free lunches, he said.

Williams said he could not estimate how many children who are not summer school students take advantage of the program, because the system “wouldn’t know.”

“We’re just feeding them,” Williams said. “They all eat free, and we feed them.”

The program runs Monday through Thursday – schools are closed on Friday. Breakfast will be served at Kilby Shores and Mack Benn Jr. elementary schools from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and at King’s Fork Middle School from 8 to 8:30 a.m.

For more information, call 925-5789.