Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It’s Cool to Eat Breakfast in Wethersfield Schools

Wethersfield High School students recently hosted their first school breakfast event at Charles Wright Elementary School. Carissa, our Communications VISTA, had the pleasure of attending:

Wethersfield HAT members from left to right include Christina Morra-Tiu, Principal Glenn Horter, Monique Gardon, Joanna Morillo, Beatrice Maslowski, and Chef Jamie Davies
I walked into Charles Wright Elementary with one of Foodshare’s Community Network Builders, Beatrice Maslowski, who facilitates the Wethersfield Hunger Action Team. As a teacher guided us down to the cafeteria, Bea explained that the children made clay bowls for an Empty Bowls project. Their creations lined the halls, showcased on window sills and in display cases.

Upon entering the cafeteria, Principal Glenn Horter welcomed us warmly. Chef Jamie Davies from Chartwells and his team were already preparing a delicious feast of fresh fruit, milk, egg sandwiches, cereal, French toast, and hash browns. The walls mimicked the day’s theme of healthy meals, including a bulletin board showcasing a superhero. The children began to file in with their brightly colored backpacks in tow. Mrs. Doris Duggins, Monique Gardon, and the rest of their sociology class began to set up their materials after a walk from Wethersfield High School.

Mrs. Duggins wanted to help food insecure students in the area by having her students lead presentations and activities to encourage school breakfast. Monique took this initiative to heart, coming up with a strategy, discussing her ideas with the Wethersfield Hunger Action Team, and encouraging her classmates to join her.

Principal Horter enthusiastically introduced the guests to the children, and Monique explained the agenda: one grade would play games while the other would eat breakfast, and then they would switch rooms in about 25 minutes. The sociology students led activities intended to get the fifth and sixth graders thinking about healthy choices, the importance of breakfast, and nutrition. While the children ate, they watched a skit written by Daniel Lopez of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Giggles filled the room as “Banana Boy” jumped out to inform “Jimmy” not to be afraid to try new foods and not to skip breakfast. To see so many children enjoying themselves and get a nutritious meal was inspiring.

I recently learned that the experience of volunteering is just as important to the individuals donating their time as it is to the cause. I listened to the presenters talk about their favorite parts of the morning while eating their own breakfasts. Watching Mrs. Duggins interact with her students was heartwarming. The class then packed up and headed back to school, and I drove back to Foodshare with a light heart and hope for the continued success of this program.

You can view photos and videos from that wonderful morning. Learn more about Foodshare Hunger Action Teams, and how you can get involved!

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