Sometimes, A Good Life Starts With A Free Breakfast

Not all schools are willing to provide free food to children, let alone a breakfast. But, Gerald Adams Elementary School gladly serves the most important meal of the day to ensure that students start the day right and bright. Debra Stecklein, school district food service supervisor highly approves of this effort because: “We want every child ready to learn.”

The importance of breakfast is undeniable since it helps jump start the day, whether it’s breakfast pizza, biscuit, pancakes, or chicken patty. The school’s principal, Frannie Herrin feels just as happy to have the opportunity to help as the kids as recipient.

It all started when The Monroe County School District launched the no-charge breakfast program in hopes of eradicating the issue of malnutrition in kids. Gerald Adams Elementary School is one of the schools happy to be part of it.

The program requires Florida schools to offer free breakfast when its population hits 80% of free and reduced lunches. Stecklein reports that 5,600 meals are being served every day including breakfast, lunch and supper. Schools offering free meals get to reimburse the cost of each. Although GAES is technically not required to participate yet at 78.8%, the board approved the school for the National School Breakfast Program.

This is also GAES’ own way of helping their students in families with financial limitations. The offer, while aimed at the less fortunate ones also benefits kids who wake up late or kids whose parents wake up late, which causes them to miss breakfast.

The free breakfast is served at 7:15 AM. The menu varies every day and everyone get to eat the same thing even those who can afford. The school provides a certain level of discretion to lessen a student in need’s embarrassment. They do this by punching in 5-digit code on all orders so that none would know who gets the free servings.

Stecklein said, “This removes all the stigma of it because they’re all eating. Even at lunch, they’re all punching in five-digit codes (at the register) so no one knows except the (employee).”