The old saying ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ is a reason why the Meriden School District is considering a plan to offer free breakfast to elementary students, daily.
Many parents said giving their children breakfast every day isn’t an issue, but it could be for others.
"Maybe they don't have the time, maybe their schedules are busy, hectic for them to do that. Certain districts may need it more than others,” said parent Carolyn Larusso-Werley.
Meriden’s Board of Education said it wants to offer a free universal breakfast to any student at the city’s eight elementary school, regardless of whether or not they qualify for free or reduced meals.
"I know there are tons of kids that do eat in the morning in the cafeteria and probably more kids would utilize it, if it wasn't income base,” said parent Shannon Ducas.
According to the district, students who already take part in its breakfast program tend to eat more fruits, whole grains, and drink more milk at breakfast than those eating at home.
However, School Superintendent Mark Benigni said they won’t force students to take a breakfast. It is just there if they want it.
"Across the nation, we know there are 20 million students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, but we know half of those students don't eat a healthy breakfast every day. We think this program can give them that opportunity,” he said.
The proposal passed the finance committee earlier this week and Benigni said it won’t cost the school district any money, as the federal reimbursements it gets for students already receiving free or reduced meals will subsidize the program.
"What we know is that when students do eat breakfast, they're better engaged, more active, and they can learn more and learn better,” he said.
Benigni added that the next step is to get approval from the full Board of Education next week. After that, the goal would be to start offering the universal breakfast beginning in October.
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