Charleston County kids begin eating breakfast in the classroom

Breakfast in the classroom (Felicia Allyn/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's been said the first meal of the day is the most important one. Now, more than 6,000 students in Charleston County will have full bellies every morning, thanks to a new{}program called "Breakfast in the Classroom".{}

Charleston County is one of 10 major school districts in the nation selected for this program, which is funded by a 5 million dollar grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.{}

A recent study released showed that more than 54 percent{}of students were qualified for free or reduced-priced lunches, yet very few were eating the meals that were offered. This program aims to change that trend, and students will surely reap the benefits both physically and mentally.{}

"A lot of kids are not really taking advantage of breakfast. It might be that the bus is running late, or parents are busy, everybody's getting to work," said Julie Abrera, School Nutrition Foundation director.

"By moving breakfast after the first bell into the classroom, kids have the chance to eat together, and we see more participation, higher test scores, kids are not going off to the school nurse, no upset stomachs, and they're able to start their day focused and ready to learn," she said.{}

Thursday, top hunger, nutrition, and education experts helped kick off the program at Angel Oak Elementary School on John's Island.{}

The Lowcountry Food Bank, Charleston County Education Association, and the South Carolina Principals Association are local organizations that are a part of Breakfast in the Classroom.{}

Nationally, the Food Research and Action Center, National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation, National Education Association Health Information Network, and School Nutrition Foundation are partners in the effort.