It’s a busy half hour at Mandan High School’s new breakfast kiosk as students file off the buses each morning and line up to grab a meal.
The cart on wheels is parked at the intersection of two hallways and a stairwell, a convenient spot for students to pick up yogurt or a whole-wheat long john to eat as they ease into their first class of the day.
“I think this is a great way to increase the breakfast participation,” child nutrition director Becky Heinert said to the Mandan School Board this week. “Healthy eating promotes better learning.”
She applied last year for a $6,500 grant, which the district received from the Midwest Dairy Council. It funded the purchase of the kiosk and computer system to accept students’ meal payments.
The year started with about 20 kids per day purchasing breakfast. Now, the number is closer to 40. In February, students purchased 1,059 more meals than the same month the previous year.
Teachers have jumped on board, allowing students to eat the food in class, she said.
Though small in size, the kiosk offers a variety — bagels, cream cheese, milk, muffins, granola bars, cereal, fresh fruit, long johns and yogurt parfaits. It contains an area for hot entrees as well, which stored sausage and egg “McBrave biscuits” Wednesday.
Senior Jake Siirtola said he purchases food nearly every day.
“Usually I get yogurt and I usually get some sort of Kellogg’s cereal,” he said.
Staff manning the kiosk arrive as early as 6:30 a.m. to prepare the morning’s food. Any leftovers are usually sold during lunch.
Heinert said she may seek another grant to purchase a similar kiosk for another Mandan school next year.