Central Heights first-grader Austin Rodefer eats breakfast with his classmates Wednesday. David Grace photo.
BLOUNTVILLE — The region’s largest K-12 school system serves more than 400,000 student breakfasts a year.
And growing trends are for more of those breakfasts to be free to all students and/or to be in a bag ready to “Grab and Go.”
During Monday night’s Sullivan County Board of Education meeting, Chairman Dan Wells read a proclamation for National School Breakfast Week that runs Monday through Friday of this week.
He said the system this school year has six “Grab and Go” breakfast programs and started five new universal free breakfast programs, joining an existing one for a total of six.
All told, he said the system served 404,735 breakfasts in 2012-13 and is projected to increase that to 431,747 in 2013-14.
“We’re doing everything we can to feed every student we can,” said Lisa Holt, nutrition supervisor for the county school system of about 10,500 students.
In an interview Tuesday, Holt said that if the trend stays on track to the projection, the increase would be 7 percent from last school year.
Holt said the Emmett Elementary School in eastern Sullivan County has had a universal free breakfast program since before she become head of school nutrition.
The five new universal free programs added this year are Ketron Elementary in Bloomingdale, Bluff City Elementary, Weaver Elementary, Central Heights Elementary between Blountville and Kingsport and Holston Valley Middle School in the eastern end of the county.
The six “Grab and Go” programs are at Bluff City Elementary, Colonial Heights Middle School, Holston Valley Middle, Ketron Elementary, Rock Springs Elementary and Weaver Elementary. She said a seventh school, Blountville Elementary, used to have the “Grab and Go” program.
At most schools with “Grab and Go,” she said a traditional breakfast also is offered but not at Ketron, which with about 700 students does not have enough room in its cafeteria for all or even half the students to eat at the same time. However, she said efforts are under way to have more seating available for breakfast eaters there.
In addition to being breakfast week, this week also is the Read Across America Week paying homage to the children’s books of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known under the pen name Dr. Seuss.
Holt said that at many schools, including Miller Perry Elementary, Seuss-themed events included the serving up of green eggs, mirroring the Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham.”
However, Holt said that modern nutritional requirements and limits will not allow ham to be served as part of a school breakfast.
For more information on National School Breakfast Week, go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website at https://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/features-month/march/national-school-breakfast-week. For information on the county’s school nutrition program, go to http://www.sullivank12.net/departments/school-nutrition/,comments powered by Disqus