McDonnell E, Probart CK, Weirich JE, Orlofsky C, Birkenshaw P, Fekete V.
Purpose/Objectives: The purpose of this project was to increase the availability of school breakfast to Pennsylvania’s school children by providing school foodservice (SFS) directors with a source of one-on-one assistance in initiating or expanding school breakfast programs (SBPs). Target Market: The target market was SFS directors.
Methods: Nine SFS directors were recruited to serve as “Breakfast Brigade” members based on their successful SBPs, professionalism, and willingness to help their colleagues. Through Project PA, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Division of Food and Nutrition and Penn State University, “Breakfast Brigade” members were provided with resources, support, and a suggested framework for working with local SFS directors to help them initiate or expand SBPs. Among the “Breakfast Brigade” members were SFS directors with experience using alternative SBP delivery methods (e.g., Breakfast in the Classroom, Breakfast After First Period, and Grab ‘n Go Breakfast.) “Breakfast Brigade” members were promoted through a brochure mailed to Superintendents, a “Breakfast Brigade” website, a message posted on PDE’s electronic bulletin board, newsletter articles, and a showcase of “Breakfast Brigade” members’ successful programs during a statewide teleconference. “Breakfast Brigade” members have assisted schools in conducting financial analyses, shared menus and promotional materials, met with school administrators, and invited SFS directors and other school representatives to visit their districts to witness their successful and creative strategies for providing school breakfast. “Breakfast Brigade” members have been involved in initiation of SBPs in 14 school districts, have helped 6 school districts expand programs, and have made contacts with an additional 28 districts.
Application – The use of colleagues as mentors has proven to be a successful and accepted strategy for initiating and expanding SBPs that could be used by other SFS directors. More information about the Breakfast Brigade program is available through the Project PA website: http://nutrition.psu.edu/projectpa.