School Meals officially launches breakfast programme at Golden Grove Primary after successful pilot at six other schools

The National School Meals Programme, which provides lunches to a number of government primary schools, has now extended its services to include the serving of breakfast.

The initiative was officially launched on Wednesday, February 8, at the Golden Grove Primary School, although a pilot project had been undertaken in several other schools prior to this.

Over the past two years, says Ezra Knowles, the programme manager, a great deal of feedback was obtained from field officers, who reported that many students were turning up to school without having had breakfast.

As a result, she says, her team decided to implement a pilot –

in six schools – that would test the feasibility of the expansion.

For instance, Knowles explains, the drivers who deliver lunch would also be required to deliver breakfast to the various schools; therefore, the logistics for timely delivery of the meals would have to be worked out.

Now that the initiative has been officially launched, 100 students at the Golden Grove Primary will be served breakfast daily. In addition,

Knowles says, there are about 400 students who are provided with that early meal.

The plan, now, is to extend the initiative in other schools where students are in need of such a service.

Knowles says that an additional shift has been added to the staff rotation.  This is because a much earlier shift would be required to prepare breakfast so that it can leave the National School Meals kitchen by 7 a.m.

According to the programme manager, the meals should arrive at the schools by 8 a.m. daily, so the students have time to eat ahead of their 9 a.m. class time.

Meanwhile, Knowles says that a kitchen-expansion project is being worked on in order to facilitate the coming onstream of other schools.

Mae Hippolyte, principal of the Golden Grove Primary, says she is elated about the timely breakfast initiative, since many students are in need of the programme.

In the past, she says, students have turned up for classes without having had the most important meal of the day, and teachers would have to chip in and purchase breakfast for them.

Reportedly, during the launch, a number of students who were not listed for breakfast received a meal, nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Knowles says the programme will continue its holiday-feeding initiative and provide a meal to those children whose parents are struggling and unable to provide them with lunch.

She notes that, for the first time since the programme’s inception, it was not closed during the 2022 holiday periods.