Forts Ferry Serves Up Breakfast; Hosts Officials Who Laud Importance of Feeding Students

Let’s keep the momentum going NCCSD families!

There was an increased number of breakfast trays filled in most North Colonie schools during National School Breakfast Week March 6-10. But the importance of having a healthy start and filling those students’ stomachs every school day, every week was emphasized by a slate of officials during a March 9 event hosted at Forts Ferry Elementary – including NY Giants running back Matt Breida.

The NFL player did way more than give a few autographs and pose for photos. When he took his turn at the podium to conclude the event, he carried the message that it’s “very important to eat breakfast” across the goal line and scored with those listening to his personal story.

“Breakfast is a very important meal of the day,” he said, “and because there was breakfast at school (when he attended), I wanted to be at school.”

He encourages students to eat even something small each morning and how proper nutrition is important to bone growth and brain development. 

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Mr. Brieda was joined by a host of area officials who all partner year round with NCCSD to ensure students are being given the opportunity to eat school meals. The event was sponsored by the American Dairy Association North East. Also represented were: NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (Jennifer Trodden, deputy commissioner); local dairy farm, Ooms and Sons (Eric Ooms); NYSED Child Nutrition (Kimberly Vumbaco, director); NYS School Nutrition (Megan Bates); Hunger Solutions NY (Jessica Pino Goodspeed).

“When you look at our mission, it says all children should have the opportunity and framework of support so that they can be successful – academically, socially, and emotionally,” Superintendent Kathleen Skeals said. “When you think of a framework of support it starts with school breakfast, It starts with students being able to get a nutritious meal.

“Because we know if students are hungry they can’t learn,” she added. “ Their mind is distracted because their tummies are growling. We know they cannot participate as fully as they could otherwise, so the work we do together is so important.”

School Nutrition Director Lisa Ostrowski thanked her entire staff across the schools for the important role they play in this partnership to ensure students are fed, especially in this “rebirth” of school meals served on trays and in person vs. in brown paper bags after COVID. 

“We take care of the whole student here in NC,” Ms. Ostrowski said. “So one of the most elemental things is eating – whether breakfast or lunch.”

The fifth grade student speakers couldn’t have agreed with her more.

Daryush Ayubi said, “I think school breakfast is important because sometimes students don’t have time to eat breakfast at home … without breakfast, kids might feel hungry and not be able to focus.

“Breakfast makes us feel energized in the morning, and gives us fuel for the day,” he added.

Keria Organ said, “All kids need a healthy breakfast to be at their best. Kids that play sports like me need breakfast to boost our energy so we can be physically active.” 

Also representing FF students was Lily McGrath. 

But getting more students and their families to digest this message and actually take advbntage of school meals is work that needs to continue. Of the 2.76 million NYS students with access to school meals, only 700,000 eat school breakfast and 1.3 million school lunch, shared Kimberly Vumbaco, director of NYSED child nutrition. 

Jessica Pino Goodspeed with Hunger Solutions NY said her organization is working to eliminate the inherent barriers to student accessing school meals, which in includes logistics with bus arrival times before classes start, the general morning rush in most homes, the stigma associated with eating school meals, and the recent loss of waivers which had provided all students meals at no cost.

Did you know … The North Colonie CSD Breakfast Program is available to all students every weekday morning. No advanced registration is necessary; your child can attend every day or only occasionally. School breakfast offers a variety of foods each day, which are both tasty and nutritious!

And did you also know, according to the School Nutrition Association, that children who eat breakfast are more likely to:

  • Reach higher levels of achievement in reading and math
  • Score higher on standardized tests
  • Have better concentration and memory
  • Be more alert 

FF students in a School Breakfast photo frame

Read more about the event hosted at Forts Ferry: 

Football ‘Giant’ in North Colonie to tackle breakfast at school (Ch. 13)