Breakfast on the Bus

school bus breakfast

Jenice Momber, Foodservice Director, Kaleva Norman Dickson Schools, Manistee County, MI

Jenice Momber knows how to solve a problem. Since her school district is so vast (Kaleva Norman Dickson covers more than 350 square miles), some students must board school buses very early in the morning, leading them to skip breakfast. Her solution: Breakfast on the Bus.

According to Momber, many students in the Kaleva Norman Dickson district board buses at Brethren High School at 6:15 a.m. for a trip to the Wexford Missaukee Career and Technology Center, about 35 miles away, in Cadillac, Michigan. The early-morning wakeup time, combined with the long bus ride can make for a very long day for high schoolers who forget to eat breakfast before they leave home.

How Breakfast on the Bus works: A full, reimbursable school breakfast is served to students as they board the bus to the career center. The breakfasts are prepared by school foodservice staff and packed in hot and cold food-safe containers. Breakfast is free to all students in the Kaleva Norman Dickson district, and every student on the bus takes a breakfast.  The driver assists the foodservice staff by counting students and maintaining records.  According to the driver, “Eating breakfast on the bus keeps students calm and quiet, which makes for a pleasant early-morning ride.”

Just as they do at school, Momber reports that students prefer the hot entrees.  Sausage biscuits, egg-and-cheese sandwiches, and pancakes are their favorites.  Many also enjoy the cold breakfast items such as cereal bars and pumpkin or banana bread.

When it comes to cleaning up the bus, students are on their own.  According to Momber, most students are respectful and clean up after themselves. Their job is to place their trash it in a garbage bag that’s passed around the bus. When the driver returns from the route, he or she simply drops it off for disposal.

Jenice thought of offering breakfast on the bus because she knew she needed to think differently to help underserved students who were not eating breakfast. “I’ll do anything I can to offer and serve more students breakfast,” she said. “We know that’s what’s best for them.” 


This story is part of a School Breakfast Success Story Compendium by Michigan Team Nutrition. To read more success stories, click here! 


Nicholas Drzal, RD, MPH, Michigan Department of Education

Chris Flood, MS; Nutrition Communications Consultant, Healthy Habits Today

Jenice Momber, Foodservice Director, Kaleva Norman Dickson Schools, Manistee County, MI