Everyone Deserves a Second Chance Breakfast


Bernard Gladney, Foodservice General Manager, Flint Public Schools, Flint, MI

“Whatever it takes to get students to eat breakfast, we’ll do it.” That’s a promise from Bernard Gladney Jr., SodexoMAGIC employee and foodservice general manager for Flint Community Schools.  “We noticed that a lot of students were coming to school late and missing breakfast.  We saw a problem and we solved it with Second Chance Breakfast. “ 

According to Gladney many students in the district arrive late to school; too late to eat school breakfast. Now, with the implementation of Second Chance Breakfast all students have a chance to eat breakfast in the morning – whether they’ve had something to eat at home or not.

In Flint schools, where Second Chance Breakfast exists, students are greeted at the door by foodservice staff members who hand them a fully reimbursable school breakfast in a bag. Students simply grab a bag and head to their classrooms to eat breakfast. The program operates from 8:45-9:15 a.m. every day.  At Durant-Turri-Mott Elementary School, now that Second Chance Breakfast is offered, 50-80 more students a day are eating school breakfast.

Shelly Umphrey, principal of Durant-Tuuri-Mott, notices an improvement in behavior when students eat breakfast.  Umphrey says that students who skip breakfast are often dragging, tired, and slow to get moving. “We want to jumpstart their day for better learning,” explains Umphrey.  “Sure, it’s a little inconvenient for teachers to have students eating in the classrooms, but to us it’s well worth the inconvenience. The research shows kids need breakfast and we are here to do what’s best for students.” 

 Changes in the delivery of school breakfast to students continue to happen in Flint. Foodservice Manager Gladney believes that student input is crucial to a successful school breakfast operation. At one Flint school, Gladney found that students were asking for hot breakfasts – especially in the cold winter months. To fulfill students’ requests, Gladney put in an oatmeal bar so a hot breakfast was available every day. Gladney also takes the time to conduct focus groups with students to find out what kinds of food they prefer. “We’ll keep trying new things,” says Gladney. My hope is to increase overall school breakfast participation to 70 percent. 

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

Bernard Gladney, Foodservice General Manager, Flint Public Schools, Flint, MI