The Origins

In June 2018, a team representing the state of North Carolina was selected to attend the School Breakfast Leadership Institute. The team included:

  • Ilina Ewen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady of North Carolina
  • Kristen Guillory, Policy Advisor, Office of NC Governor Roy Cooper
  • Lynn Harvey, Chief of School Nutrition Services, NC Department of Public Instruction, and 2017-18 President of the School Nutrition Association
  • Robert Taylor, Superintendent of Bladen County Schools
    • During the 2012-13 school year, the Bladen County Schools Board of Education mandated that all K-8 classes use innovative Breakfast After the Bell models to feed more kids.
  • Helen Roberts, School Breakfast Program Manager, No Kid Hungry NC

Teams from six states were selected to attend the Institute, which was hosted by the national No Kid Hungry campaign’s Center for Best Practices. At the Institute, state teams learned “how they can take immediate steps toward a more comprehensive, systematic, state-led approach to expanding access to school breakfast.”

The North Carolina team decided to use its entire $60,000 grant from the Institute to fund new Breakfast After the Bell programs in schools, with the goal of increasing participation in school breakfast.

The Initiative

In the fall of 2018, the NC Initiative team granted almost $100,000 to 24 schools in 9 school districts for the purpose of starting new Breakfast After the Bell programs, such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Second Chance Breakfast, and Grab and Go. Districts were deemed eligible based on specific criteria set by the team using NC Department of Public Instruction meal claim data for the 2017-18 school year. The Dairy Alliance provided additional funding for the grant initiative.

  • Anson County Schools
  • nc map grant districts 18-19Cabarrus County Schools
  • Cumberland County Schools
  • Edgecombe County Schools
  • Gaston County Schools
  • Johnston County Schools
  • Kannapolis City Schools
  • Public Schools of Robeson County
  • Wayne County Public Schools

The Results

Only one month after the implementation deadline, almost 1,200 more kids were eating breakfast in these 24 schools, compared to a year earlier. 954 of them were eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

This work in just 1 percent of public schools accounted for 20 percent of the increase in all breakfast eaters statewide from March 2018 to March 2019.

Results were measured using meal claim data from the NC Department of Public Instruction.