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Jun 6, 2019 4:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton School Board Considers Food-Related Program Proposals For Next School Year

Board Vice President Jacqueline Robinson and other board members considered food program iniatiatives for next school year at their Tuesday meeting. ANISAH ABDULLAH
Jun 11, 2019 1:04 PM

Southampton School District officials are exploring the possibility of implementing two food program initiatives in the district next school year.

At the June 4 School Board meeting, the district’s food service director, Regan Kiembock, gave presentations on a proposed Breakfast for All program for the Southampton Elementary School and a chef-led intensive training program called Brigaid to benefit all three schools in the district.

Several board members conveyed their support for the proposals, including SunHe Sherwood-Dudley and Roberta Hunter. They are part of the district’s Wellness Committee and said that they have been discussing the initiatives for a while at their committee meetings.

Board member James McKenna expressed concerns, citing the narrow time frame to have them rolled out by September, when logistics are not fully developed.

“I’m not arguing against it—just poking at it,” Mr. McKenna said of the breakfast program. He later abstained from voting on the Brigaid program, placing blame on administration for not starting the discussion earlier in the year.

The Breakfast for All program would offer a free, nutritious breakfast to all elementary students regardless of their lunch status, to ensure that every student is fed. The meal would be served, eaten and cleared in the classroom, instead of the cafeteria, within the first 15 minutes of the school day.

Implementing the program would address the high percentage of food insecurity at the school, which stands at 56 percent, Ms. Kiembock said. Out of the school’s 520 current students, 292 are enrolled in the free or reduced-price lunch program.

Ms. Kiembock referred to research revealing that in New York State last school year, less than half of students who received free and reduced-price lunch also ate breakfast—leading to the “food insecurity” label.

“I think it’ll give a lot of parents a little bit of a sigh of relief knowing that they didn’t get breakfast into their child for whatever reason, and they had to go to work, that their child will get breakfast,” Ms. Kiembock said.

The district would actually gain about $9,700 in revenue from the program, because of federal and state reimbursement rates for free and reduced-price meals, Ms. Kiembock calculated, emphasizing the importance of record-keeping under the program.

She and other district administrators recently visited elementary schools in the Patchogue-Medford School District to observe its equivalent Breakfast in the Classroom program. She shared that model and its success in that district with the board.

Jean Mingot, Southampton’s assistant superintendent of business who attended that visit, noted how impressed he was with students’ eagerness to participate in the record-keeping and cleaning components.

The second program, Brigaid, would offer kitchen staff training for one school year at the Southampton schools. A professional chef would spend 14 weeks at each school, starting with the high school, to provide the tools for creating healthier meals using fewer processed foods.

Brigaid launched its first pilot program in 2016 at New London School District in Connecticut and expanded last fall to schools in the Bronx.

Ms. Kiembock said that the length of the training would significantly improve staff members’ culinary skill sets and empower them to make nutritious meals. The program has a price tag of $60,600, which includes Brigaid contract and assessment fees, as well as the purchasing of necessary kitchen equipment for each school.

That figure was not included in next year’s budget, which was approved last month, so it would have to come from existing funds, Jean Mingot, Southampton’s assistant superintendent for business, said at the meeting. He and Ms. Kiembock will continue to discuss where the money could come from if the board decides to pursue the program.

Ms. Kiembock said she is waiting to hear back from other school districts currently contracted with Brigaid to use their contract as a reference.

Board members did not make a decision at the meeting and will likely continue discussions at future meetings.

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What a great idea...kids having breakfast and eating healthier !!! What better that staying away from process food??? BRAVO!!!!
By Mate (40), Southampton on Jun 6, 19 10:08 PM
While that's all well and good, notice that the program is funded by "subsidies" from federal and state government. Once again, the tax money from hard working citizens pays for everyone, taxpayers or not. Personally, I don't think my tax money should fund the failure of parents to provide meals to their children because they are working! I raised two children while working full-time and my kids never went without breakfast or lunch. I just got up early. Why do liberals insist on foisting off parental ...more
By Babyboo (275), Hampton Bays on Jun 7, 19 7:44 AM
I understand that you don't care whether kids eat breakfast or not but many of us do, so too bad.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6633), HAMPTON BAYS on Jun 7, 19 10:18 AM
So go feed them. But don't think you are honorable by taking MY money and giving it to someone ELSE to feed them.
By even flow (831), East Hampton on Jun 7, 19 10:21 AM
We already feed other people with your money, I (and apparently plenty of people) simply feel kids should be included.

Don't like it? Lobby your government or kick dust.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6633), HAMPTON BAYS on Jun 7, 19 11:33 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Babyboo (275), Hampton Bays on Jun 7, 19 2:31 PM
So, basically the same thing you’re saying?you are a good person, keep up the good work.
By Fred s (2565), Southampton on Jun 7, 19 2:35 PM
I didn't tell anyone to shut up, but offered it as a reasonable alternative to lobbying your elected representatives.

If you can convince enough people that government shouldn't try to ensure hungry kids eat breakfast, then you win.

What's stopping you?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6633), HAMPTON BAYS on Jun 7, 19 2:36 PM
Is the Southampton BOE going to fall for this grant???
By April1 (156), Southampton on Jun 6, 19 10:47 PM
Raise your own children.
By even flow (831), East Hampton on Jun 7, 19 9:46 AM
Can anyone point out where on your taxes you check a box where you want your taxes to go? I agree, I’d rather have hungry kids, it helps me sleep at night.pathetic
By Fred s (2565), Southampton on Jun 7, 19 11:20 AM
don't the po already receive WIC to feed their kids?!
By bigfresh (4366), north sea on Jun 7, 19 12:53 PM
A parent doesn't have to be poor for a child to be hungry.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6633), HAMPTON BAYS on Jun 7, 19 12:56 PM
no, just a lousy parent.
By bigfresh (4366), north sea on Jun 7, 19 5:17 PM
That’s a foolish statement.
By Fred s (2565), Southampton on Jun 7, 19 5:40 PM
I think there's a multitude of potential reasons why a child might not eat breakfast before arriving at school, and neglect is certainly one of them.

The point being that the underlying reason is less important than making sure a hungry child is fed.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6633), HAMPTON BAYS on Jun 7, 19 6:10 PM
not at all Fred, with all the social services available , only a lousy parent would let their kids go hungry, ZERO excuse.
By bigfresh (4366), north sea on Jun 7, 19 7:48 PM
Not only should no child suffer hunger or malnourishment in the richest country on earth, research shows breakfast is essential for optimum learning. England has had school breakfast programs for years based on such research. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised to hear from the dolts who can't see the value of a well-educated population, can't recognize the link between nourishment and brain function, nor the benefit of a wise investment of tax dollars.
By June Bug (2437), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 7, 19 7:50 PM
That is lame rationality. Your lack of human compassion is startling. You argue to be pro life, but you are not disturbed by a hungry child. Everything thing in life does not fit into your narrow view of humanity.
By Fred s (2565), Southampton on Jun 7, 19 8:01 PM
Of course I don't want to see anyone go hungry Fred, it just seems that the handouts never stop, there are programs in place to provide food for kids, why add another layer of governmental influence?
By bigfresh (4366), north sea on Jun 8, 19 10:15 AM
Obviously if there are still hungry kids, something should be done. Victim blaming solves nothing. Drawing a line in the sand over feeding children is not a particularly good strategy.
By Fred s (2565), Southampton on Jun 8, 19 11:40 AM
At the current unsustainable ridiculous rate in Southampton to “educate” each child right now, might I ask why more than half of the students receive reduced, or free lunches, while the rest are required to pay full price? Enough of this garbage. Shop around, use responsible due diligence, find a competitively priced vendor who WANTS the business, and include the food into the already artificially inflated rates. For ALL students. Stop wasting money.
By Lets go mets (357), Southampton on Jun 7, 19 3:58 PM
40k per kid? These kids should get breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a 5 star restaurant. Tuition is absurd and much money is wasted.
By chief1 (2719), southampton on Jun 9, 19 9:49 PM
How come Hampton Bays spends almost 30 Million LESS to educate their kids with 20 percent MORE students and has a higher graduation rate ? Where is the money going? Of course feed the kids and cut the fat.
By claypit (10), speonk on Jun 10, 19 9:20 PM
Feed all the children, legal and illegal.
By Hamptonsway (57), Southampton on Jun 17, 19 9:18 PM