Andrew Lewis breakfast program feeds learning

Photos courtesy of Salem City Schools
Kiosks for healthy breakfast snacks are located in Andrew Lewis Middle School hallways for students to “grab and go” and eat in their next class.

Students at Andrew Lewis Middle School now have a better chance to learn because they can eat breakfast in class.

Although in the past most schools preferred to keep food out of the classroom, the “Breakfast After the Bell” program encourages it.

Every parent knows how difficult it is to get kids up, dressed, fed and to school, particularly once they are in middle and high school.

And older students frequently aren’t that hungry first thing in the morning. The solution at ALMS is to offer grab-and-go breakfast items between classes which students can eat in their next period.

“We offer the breakfast items a couple of times during the morning so that we can hit everybody,” explained Dr. Forest Jones, Salem Schools’ director of administrative services. “It has been a huge success.”

“The number of kids eating breakfast has increased,” he added. “Research has shown if kids have full bellies, they do better academically. Principal Jamie Garst is very supportive of the breakfast program.”

The school system also has applied for a grant from the state to provide a smoothie program. “We’re trying to be as creative as we can,” added Jones.

Breakfast After the Bell is not limited to kids who are eligible for free or reduced lunch, so this reduces the stigma associated with school breakfast programs. Any student can buy breakfast items for $1.25 from the carts set up in hallways. Eligible students get the grab-and-go items at no cost. The kiosks and foods are paid for through the $5,000 grant ALMS received from the “No Kid Hungry Virginia” program.

Students have choices such as oranges, apple slices, whole grain Pop Tarts, muffins, string cheese and milk. ALMS received the grant in January, Jones said, and it will continue through this fall when Salem Schools resume classes in September.

“No Kid Hungry Virginia is here to support schools across the state that are starting Breakfast After the Bell initiatives,” said Claire Mansfield, No Kid Hungry Virginia state director.

She added that traditional breakfast programs in school cafeterias have been historically hard for students to access because of bus or carpool schedules and other factors. “These new Breakfast After the Bell models will help make sure more Virginia students are eating breakfast at school every day.”

Free breakfast and lunch available for kids this summer

Salem children whose families have to stretch their budgets can get free meals at several sites in the city this summer. Breakfast and lunch are free for children and teens who are 18 and younger. No one has to apply or show proof of income. The US Department of Agriculture provides the meals.
Here is where and when free meals are available this summer at Summer Meals Sites:

Breakfast locations:

  • Andrew Lewis Middle School Cafeteria – June 25 to Aug. 2, closed July 4th (9:30 to 10:30 a.m.)
  • GW Carver Elementary School Cafeteria – July 16 to July 27 (8 to 8:30 a.m.)
    Lunch Locations:
  • GW Carver Cafeteria – July 16 to July 27 (11:50 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.)
  • ALMS Cafeteria – June 25 to Aug. 2, closed July 4th (12:30 to 1 p.m.)
  • Salem Commons Apartments (remote site) – June 25 to Aug. 2, closed July (noon to 12:30 p.m.)
  • Ramey’s Trailer Park (remote site) – June 25 to Aug. 2, closed July 4th (noon to 12:30 p.m.)
  • Oak Park (remote site)– June 25 to Aug. 2, closed July 4 (noon to 12:30 p.m.)
  • Salem Public Library – June 25 to Aug. 2, closed July 4 (noon to 12:30 p.m.).

Anyone with questions can contact Dr. Forest I. Jones at 389-0130.

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