The Liverpool Central School District is now offering universal breakfast to students at Chestnut Hill Middle School and Liverpool Middle School. Administrators hope to expand the program districtwide by next year.
continued The universal breakfast program will provide kids with a healthy meal at school, which studies show improves overall academic performance.
“We have evidence now, having done it in the elementary schools, it helps students throughout the day,” Bonacci said. “There are fewer visits to the nurse, less tardiness. I’ve always been an advocate for universal meals. It’s a benefit to all. It’s a win-win for the children and the district.”
The fact that breakfast is provided regardless of income is also important.
“Those on free and reduced lunch, it gives them more of an opportunity to come through, especially at the middle school level. They can come through with their friends,” Bonacci said. “There’s nothing on our computers that shows if a kid is [on] free or reduced lunch, but kids know kids, and kids talk. This way, they can come in and eat with their friends. A paid student can eat with a student that doesn’t pay. They’re all coming in, so there’s no stigma. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
Bonacci said her biggest hope is simply that students take advantage of the program.
“I would love to feed the whole school every day, but realistically, that’s probably not going to happen,” she said. “But if we give them the option, if they know they have this option as time goes on, they may say, ‘Oh, I’m going to eat breakfast at school,’ and they get something to eat. Even if they only do it once or twice a week, to me, it’s worth it.”