For Jennifer Laninga, a supervisor in the Grand Rapids Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services Department, National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) is a chance to let the work of her department shine.

She and her team serve 4,500 breakfasts per day and another 12,000 lunches per day to district scholars.

“The week is definitely a time for us to bring awareness to our scholars and families of the great things that are happening in our breakfast programs,” she said with a smile. “And it is an opportunity for us to invite scholars who may not eat breakfast with us to join us.”

This year NSBW will be March 6-10, and Laninga said some cool things are in store for GRPS schools.

“All week we will be featuring new breakfast items for our scholars to try,” she noted. “There will also be contests and prizes for scholars participating in the National School Breakfast program. I personally am most excited to showcase all the wonderful things that happen every day at breakfast.”

Laninga added that she and her colleagues serve almost three times more lunches daily than breakfasts, and they’d like to see that change.

“All GRPS scholars are eligible for free breakfast and lunch every school day,” she said. “The opportunity to bring awareness to our scholars and families of our breakfast program is very exciting.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and we want to make sure all of our scholars receive the best nourishment to start their school day.”

Nutritional decisions for GRPS meals are based on guidelines from the Michigan Department of Education and the United States Department of Agriculture and made with input from the Nutrition Services Director, the supervisory team and direct input from all managers and cooks, the people who work directly with our scholars.

“We take into consideration our scholars’ dietary wants,” Laninga said. “We strive to provide our scholars with nutritious foods that they like and are familiar with and introduce them to new foods that they may not be familiar with. We work with our suppliers to provide fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. We are here to serve the scholars.”