Harrison school nutrition program recognized with visit from state DOA

Seen here from left are Toni Bowman, nutritionist, Pomptonian; Arleen Ramos, school nutrition program coordinator, NJDA; Patty Bennett, Mid Atlantic Regional administrator, USDA; Kroog; Douglas Katz, operations manager, Pomptonian; Daniel Choffo, schools business administrator; Kathy Thompson, Pomptonian; James P Doran, director of personnel, Harrison Public Schools; Art Pettigrew, vice president, Harrison Board of Education; Marienis Batista, Pomptonian; Michael Pichowicz, assistant business administrator, Harrison Public Schools; Maria Vila, president, Harrison Board of Education; Joe Atchison III, assistant secretary of agriculture, NJDA; and Rose Chamberlain, Food & Nutrition director, NJDA.

Quality nutrition has always been a hallmark of the Harrison school district. And, the week of March 4, in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, state and local officials visited Washington Middle School to celebrate National School Breakfast Week.

Harrison schools are active participants in both Breakfast Before the Bell and Breakfast After the Bell programs. In total, the district serves 2,211 students, with 88% of those qualifying for federally free and reduced-price school meals. And 53 more qualify for the New Jersey Expanded Income Eligibility State Supplement.

Additionally, Harrison serves approximately daily 1,000 breakfasts through its Breakfast After the Bell program, where students may access healthy, nutritious meals in their classrooms after the school day has begun. Some options include waffles, cereal and muffins, served with milk or juice.

Washington Middle School, specifically, serves Breakfast After the Bell to an average of more than 220 students per day, which is nearly 50% of its population.

New Jersey schools, as a whole, provide 400,000 students with breakfast each day.

“The breakfast program gives students an opportunity to get that all-important first meal, allowing them to focus and perform better academically and in extra-curricular activities,” Harrison Schools Superintendent Maureen Kroog said. “Knowing they have breakfast available is part of a routine that sets a positive tone for the rest of their day.”

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