DEEP RUN, LENOIR COUNTY - Lenoir County Schools are now offering a morning meal before classes begin for all students regardless of economic status. Its part of a universal free breakfast program implemented this school year.
At South Lenoir High School they've decided to start offering breakfast twice a day. It is the only school in the county to serve breakfast before school and once during school hours, according to Lenoir County Public Information Officer Patrick Holmes.
The schools added a 10 minute breakfast break after first period. Students like senior Anna Crawford said that gives you a break to be with friends but also more focused in class.
"You are not in class thinking about food all the time. After first period you go and get your breakfast then that will really hold you over until lunch," Crawford said.
The school's gone from serving about 40 breakfast meals a day to around 400. That's about 50 percent of the student population being fed each morning.
Breakfast is served in three different locations of the school, and the meals are convenient enough to eat in class, school officials said.
School cafeteria manager Linda Witherspoon said it's awesome to be able to feed so many students.
"You feel good to know that they are being fed a lot of times students would go all day without eating," Witherspoon said.
Holmes said the expense for free breakfast in Lenoir County Schools is paid through a federal reimbursement program.
Last month, South Lenoir High School won an award for its new breakfast program from No Kid Hungry -a national organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger, Patrick Holmes said.
No Kid Hungry estimates that 16-million children in America live in households that "struggle to put food on the table".