Some students still saying no to free breakfast - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Some students still saying no to free breakfast

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

School breakfast in Charlotte-Mecklenburg got a nutrition makeover this year.

"Which is really awesome because everybody needs breakfast to start to their day," said Chris Guity, a senior at Independence High School.

Now when Chris walks down the cafeteria line, he has more options, said Amy Harkey, CMS assistant director of child nutrition.

"Each day we have a hot option. We also have cereal available daily and we now have a vegetarian breakfast available and vegan breakfast available."

Government data shows lunch participation was down a little this past year.

The biggest drop came in students who pay for their own lunch, not those who get it at a free or reduced price lunch.

However Harkey says the number of kids eating school breakfast daily has increased, slowly, partly due to a free breakfast program put in place this year.

"Students now don't have to pay," said Harkey. 

At the end of the second week of classes, about 1 in 4 ate breakfast at school. 

Each school in CMS has worked out its own strategy for offering breakfast to everyone. Although students don't have to pay, they do have to enter a four digit CMS identification code so the district can file for reimbursement.

"Breakfast had been offered across the district based on eligibility in prior years. Only about 40 percent of eligible students were consuming breakfast," said Harkey.

Chris says there are many reasons he goes without having breakfast, whether it's sleeping in longer or having a long bus ride.

But with the convenience of breakfast waiting for him at school, breakfast is one meal Chris won't be skipping

"They do say breakfast is the most important meal of the day," said Chris.

Even though breakfast is offered, many students are still saying no to the free option. School officials say some students feel there is a stigma attached to eating free meal.

High school participation also tends to be low since most classes start around 7:15. But most students said they like the option, even if they only have breakfast every now and then.

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