Local schools piloting Universal Free Breakfast program

ISHPEMING — For the month of February, Birchview Elementary School and Ishpeming Middle School are testing a pilot program aiming to provide students with free breakfast every day.



The program is called the Universal Free Breakfast. Funding for the program is provided by reimbursements from the state through the National School Lunch Program.

All students have to do is come to school in the morning and choose what they want to eat. The selection includes cold cereal, cereal bars, string cheese, yogurt, bagels, fruit, 100 percent fruit juices, an oatmeal bar and the special of the day.

“It’s a great way to start the day,” said Calvin Attwell, the food service director for Ishpeming and Negaunee Public Schools. “It helps the kids get nourishment to their brains, it helps them focus in class and it also helps them wake up a little in the morning.”

Attwell said the Universal Free Breakfast feeds about 60 to 70 elementary school students, 40 middle school students and 10 high school students every morning. The schools hope to double the number of students take advantage of the program by the end of the month.

From there, the school will decide if they will continue the program during the school year.