SOCSD to offer free breakfast for all students

Charlie Benton
Staff Writer

Students in the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District will now be able to eat breakfast for free every school day.

The district announced the new free breakfast program Tuesday, for the upcoming school year. The breakfast will be provided under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Provision Two, one of the agency’s special assistance alternatives for school meals. The provision allows free meals for an entire entity, based on the percentage of free and reduced meal students, reimbursing the district for them. The provision has existed since 1980.

“We started actively working with the Mississippi Department of Education in the spring trying to get our numbers and seeing if we can gain permission to offer this program,” said SOCSD Director of Child Nutrition Ginny Hill.

Hill gave some more details on the program.

“It is an alternate program that the USDA has to accompany the national school breakfast and national school lunch programs,” Hill said. “We are eligible to offer free breakfast through it.”

Shea said the program was separate from other USDA programs used to feed SOCSD students.

Hill said studies have shown students who eat breakfast are more likely to succeed than those who do not.

“There’s lots of research that goes in to show that eating breakfast helps jump-start a student’s metabolism, which also goes into helping their brain function,” Hill said. “There’s lots of research that’s gone into test scores and showing how academic performance is improved when breakfast is eaten each morning.”

Students are offered breakfast from carpool until the first bell. All carpool and bus students will be given the opportunity to eat breakfast. A monthly breakfast menu for each school can be found on the district’s website along with lunch menus. Hill said the district was moving toward offering more “grab-and-go” breakfast options, which can be eaten quickly or while on the go.

“We’re optimistic that this will increase breakfast participation, and more students will eat breakfast with us each day,” Hill said.

The district will begin its 2018-2019 school year Tuesday, Aug. 7.