Hunger Heroes: Clymer Central School District
By Fee Pelz-Sharpe
“I enjoy being with the students and being able to see them when they first arrive!” – Sue Watrous, Cook Manager / Head Chef
In Western New York, Hunger Hero Sue Watrous at Clymer Central School District, has been finding new ways to adapt and feed more students. The early pandemic was difficult on the community – during the school shutdown, the district was able to deliver meals to their rural community. While this was a necessary choice for them, it was a stress on Watrous and her team – and returning to in-person school lifted some of that weight off of their shoulders.
However, Watrous now faced another challenge: how to get more students to eat a school breakfast. Nationally, while 22 million students eat school lunch, only 12 million eat breakfast at school. Watrous and her team applied for a No Kid Hungry grant to create a Grab & Go breakfast area, that students would pass by as they got off the school bus and made their way to class. Traditional school breakfast options can leave some students behind; social stigma, timing, and students preferring to socialize can all affect breakfast participation. Grab & Go is a solution to these problems, allowing students to simply make a quick stop as they head into class. In Clymer, the school nutrition team went the extra mile by having students decorate their Grab & Go carts and cafeteria. Students were motivated to stop by the carts because they were proud of their work and excited to see it on display. Breakfast participation at Clymer Central School has increased, and they are now serving more students than before the pandemic.
As we start the new school year, Watrous is excited to continue offering Grab & Go breakfasts to her students – and says she plans to do so for many years to come. Watrous loves being able to see the students when they first arrive – and we’re sure they love seeing her and their breakfast carts, too!