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Contact: Jeff Wolfe (609) 633-2954 or (609) 433-1785    


Agriculture Department Visits School District That Doubles Student Breakfast Participation

(BRICK TOWNSHIP) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, today celebrated National School Breakfast Week by visiting two schools in the Brick Township School District.

Brick Township has seen its participation in the school breakfast program rise from more than 800 students during the 2012-2013 school year to over 1,700 students during this school year. Brick School District uses the Breakfast After the Bell program.

“Serving breakfast in the classroom means more students eating this important meal each morning,” said NJDA Food and Nutrition Division Director Rose Tricario. “We applaud Brick Township’s success in making breakfast accessible to more students and urge other districts to strive for the kind of progress that has been made here.”

Tricario, USDA School Nutrition Program Acting Branch Chief John Gallagher, New Jersey Department of Education Assistant Commissioner Sue Martz and other officials visited three classrooms at Lake Riviera Middle School and then also visited three classrooms at Midstreams Elementary School. Breakfast choices consisted of 100 percent fruit juice, assorted milks, fresh fruit, whole grain muffins, pancakes, waffles, granola bars and bagels.

“Starting each day off with a balanced breakfast gives kids the energy and nutrition they need to learn and grow throughout the school day,” said USDA Regional Administrator Patricia Dombroski. “Their ability to achieve in the classroom depends on their access to healthy meals each morning. By ensuring that this basic need is met each and every school day, USDA is tackling hunger head on, and, ultimately, strengthening the future of America.”

New Jersey has seen one of the largest increases in the nation in breakfast participation. The 2015-2016 Food Research and Action Center’s School Breakfast Scorecard advanced the state to 19th in the nation for increasing the percent of low-income students who receive a healthy morning meal at the start of the school day. The ranking is based on the percentage of eligible students who receive breakfasts through the School Breakfast Program.

 “Consuming a healthy breakfast in the classroom helps students focus on the many tasks they have during a day,” said Jeanine Richardson, the Manager of Food and Nutrition for Brick Township School District. “It’s important for them academically as well as socially to not have to worry about where they are getting breakfast.”

 Fewer New Jersey students have that concern compared to last year and other recent years. During the 2014-15  

school year, 278,871 New Jersey students received breakfast. The number increased to 302,120 during the 2015-16

school year, an increase of more than 23,000 students over the previous year. New Jersey ranked 23rd last year and 48th in 2011.

 School Breakfast Week, an initiative of the School Nutrition Association, is being commemorated March 6-10. The week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness about the availability of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Breakfast Program and increase participation, both by schools and students.  School breakfast is a federally funded program administered locally by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.


 To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at and or Twitter @NJDA1 and @JerseyFreshNJDA.