How Thinking “Out of the Bag” Improves Breakfast Participation

brown paper breakfast bags lined up

When USD 480 Liberal School District (KS) noticed the extremely low breakfast participation at Liberal High School, they knew they needed to approach the situation in a unique way. Of the 70% of students who qualified for free or reduced meals, only 11% took advantage of the breakfast program. 

To increase breakfast participation, they needed an efficient solution that wouldn’t cause tardiness or class disruptions. Meals also needed to continue to meet the Final Rule USDA nutrient standards.

Liberal High School School Nutrition staff member setting up a Second Chance Breakfast kiosk in the hallway
Photo courtesy of blogs.usda.gov.

The School Nutrition Staff set up customized kiosks in the most heavily trafficked common areas. These “Second Chance Breakfast” kiosks allowed students to purchase a quick breakfast-to-go. Bags included items like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a sausage biscuit or muffin, Go-Gurt® or string cheese, and milk, juice, or apple slices. 

Participation in the breakfast program increased by making this one small change, but not immediately. A promotional campaign with posters and videos from the school’s Graphic Arts and Video Production students, helped bring success to the program. Within eight weeks, the “Second Chance Breakfast” kiosks sold around 300 meals daily. This was a huge improvement compared to the 28 meals sold per day before the program launched.

For more information on how Liberal High School tackled their low breakfast participation, the USDA highlighted their program on their blog

Congratulations to the USD 480 Liberal School District Nutrition Department for their successful and creative campaign!

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