Ireland Elementary to serve breakfast


IRELAND — When a student is having a rough morning at Ireland Elementary, one of the first questions they’re asked is, “Did you get breakfast?” Hopefully, the answer will more often be, “Yes.”

Starting Monday, Ireland Elementary will have a breakfast service program. Through the program, each student will have the opportunity to purchase breakfast at school for $1.25, or $0.30 if the student qualifies for reduced lunch. This will be the first time breakfast has been offered at Ireland Elementary.

Principal Shannon Bauer got the ball rolling earlier this year when she and her staff noticed that more students seemed to arrive at school hungry.

Greater Jasper Food Service Manager Katie Knies was already aware of the need for a breakfast program at the school. Ireland Elementary just hit 15% of the student body on free and reduced lunch, which means the school is required by law to offer breakfast. Bauer and Knies met with LaDonna Werner, Ireland’s cafeteria manager, and the group put together a breakfast program.

“Breakfast is just so important,” Bauer said.

Werner agreed.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” she said. “It just jump-starts the day.”

The breakfast program at Ireland will be the same as at Greater Jasper’s other four schools. Each meal will include an entree, a juice or fruit and milk, with other items offered as well. Adults will also be able to get breakfast.

“I really think this program is going to help everybody,” Bauer said. “As a mother of four, I know how hard it is to get kids fed and out the door in the morning.”

Bauer also pointed out that some students board the bus at 6:30 a.m. or 6:45 a.m. They may not be hungry at that time, she said, but when they arrive at school half an hour later, they often are. Now, they’ll be able to get something to eat before class starts.

When the program starts Monday, Werner said, she hopes to serve at least 150 of the school’s 544 students. Eventually, she said, she figures about half the students will utilize the service.

Corporationwide, Knies said about one-third of Greater Jasper’s students use the breakfast services, with the highest participation at Fifth and Tenth Street elementaries.

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