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NJPHK-Camden Brings Breakfast to the Classroom at Forest Hill Elementary

January 28, 2013 | Camden, Community News

During the 2011 school year, Forest Hill Elementary School offered hot breakfast in the school cafeteria, but only 43 percent of the students were eating it.

School principal Gail Witherspoon was not satisfied with that percentage. She understood the importance of breakfast to student learning. She also knew that many children at this pre-K through grade 5 school were not skipping breakfast because they had eaten it at home. Instead, they bypassed the cafeteria because it was tough to get to school early enough to eat before class.

Breakfast in the Classroom seemed to be the logical solution to ensure students started the day nutritionally prepared. But the challenge became “how to make it happen?”

She turned to NJPHK-Camden for help…and she got the support she needed.

Valeria Galarza, NJPHK-Camden Project Manager teamed with Yemele Ayala, community partnership director for the Camden City Public Schools and ARAMARK, the food service provider for the district. Together, they worked through the logistics required to bring a nutritious morning meal to each classroom in the school.

Now, students are offered a “grab n’ go” breakfast consisting of fruit and milk and cereal, a breakfast bar or a muffin. And 91 percent of the students are taking advantage of it.

“We wanted to start Breakfast in the Classroom,” Galarza explained. “So we made Forest Hill our pilot school.” “We have worked through a few hiccups involving delivery and timing and now can provide a Grab n’ Go breakfast that is easy to transport and healthy too.” NJPHK-Camden also provided $2,000 to purchase special delivery bags to keep the cold food separate from items served at room temperature.

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