New program offers free breakfast to all elementary school stude - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

New program offers free breakfast to all elementary school students

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A new program in Brunswick County hopes to increase learning by filling the bellies of elementary school students with a healthy breakfast.

The universal free breakfast kicked off January 2. It offers a free breakfast to all elementary aged students regardless of household income.

"This is something I've wanted to do for many, many years and several things came together to make it happen," said Tina Ward, Brunswick County's Director of Child Nutrition.

The Brunswick County Board of Education voted in October to bring the program to their schools.

It comes at no costs to the school system but is paid off through federal grants and other programs through Child Nutrition.

"We want to remove the stigma that only ‘poor kids' can eat breakfast," Ward said.

Despite the lack in costs, Ward also believes this free meal not only improves a child's food stability but could also improve their learning ability.

"Everybody knows that hungry tummies cannot learn. And if a child comes to school well fed and starts the day well fed, they're going to be ready to learn," Ward said.

Currently, 37% of elementary school students in Brunswick County participate in the breakfast program. However, Ward hopes that the cut in cost will push that rate to 50%.

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