By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON RIVER - Beginning this school year, West Iron County Schools in Iron River will be serving free breakfasts to all children from kindergarten through 12th grade, regardless of income.
Denise Maloney Photo
Stambaugh Elementary School students, from left, Peyton Williams, Brayden Nelson, Trey Bociek, and Robbie Quayle, along with West Iron Health and Wellness Coordinator Denise Maloney, prepare to taste test baked sweet potato fries with a lime cilantro dipping sauce at an “Action For Healthy Kids” event during the last academic year. Beginning in the fall, all West Iron County Schools students will have access to free, healthy breakfasts thanks to an “Action For Healthy Kids” grant.
The program is available thanks to an "Action For Healthy Kids" nutrition grant that was recently awarded to the school.
"We know that students need access to healthy, nutritious foods to keep their busy bodies and minds growing," said Denise Maloney, West Iron health and wellness coordinator. "Our school district has made a commitment to growing a healthier generation and we believe that while academics is our number one priority, equally important is providing a foundation for our students to embrace healthy lifestyle habits that will carry them through a lifetime, long after they leave our hallways and classrooms."
Breakfasts will be served in the classroom.
Maloney explained that breakfasts in each building will vary in order to appeal to students of different ages. However, each breakfast will include the major food groups.
"Students will be exposed to fresh fruits, whole grains, protein, and dairy each day," Maloney pointed out. "Foods that will be offered will be individually packed for each student and delivered to them in their classrooms each day at a specific time."
Student input will also influence the breakfast menu.
"As we move into the first few weeks of school, we will be polling students on what healthy breakfast options that they like, don't like, or would like to see incorporated into our breakfast menus," said Maloney. "Their input is very valuable to us and we want to encourage them to have ownership in making healthy choices in what they want to fuel their bodies with each morning."
In addition to serving healthy breakfasts, West Iron will be incorporating more nutrition education into its curriculum.
Students will learn about making good nutritional choices, reading food labels, and eating foods that are low in fat and sugar and high in fiber and protein.
The "Action For Healthy Kids" grant is underwritten by the Kellogg and Walmart Foundations. Schools receiving grant funding were chosen at the national level.
"We were the only school in Michigan that received full funding for our entire school district, and we received the largest grant "Action For Healthy Kids" has given out," Maloney added.
For more information, contact Maloney at Stambaugh Elementary at (906) 265-6141, ext. 3204.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.