SHERIDAN — Small faces shined Monday morning at various elementary schools throughout Sheridan when a few staff and board members of the YMCA in Sheridan delivered breakfast to 39 classrooms.
The YMCA in Sheridan applied for and received a $2,500 Hunger Is grant through the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance, which promotes brain-boosting breakfast.
“We decided we were going to pair it with standardized testing week and talking about the benefits of a healthy breakfast,” YMCA Early Childhood/Afterschool Director Alicia Knight said.
The work between receiving the grant and providing food for students and teachers proved intensive. Breakfast trays filled with orange juice, apple juice, Go-Gurt, boiled eggs, bagels, grapes or oranges and meat and cheese trays were delivered to 39 classrooms between the five elementary schools, with the most going to Sagebrush Elementary at 11 classrooms served.
“It really unfolded really well, and to execute it all was amazing,” Knight said. “The schools were super thankful and the teachers, and I think it was a nice way of saying, ‘Testing is important and also eating healthy is important.’”
As students throughout the district complete WY-TOPP statewide testing this week, affiliates of the YMCA wanted to help out and ensure students understood the importance of eating healthy, especially for breakfast.
In addition to the 39 trays of food, Knight coordinated with her after-school students to individually package 300 YMCA lunch bags with additional healthy breakfast foods for children at all five elementary schools.
“To put a signature feel on it, all of the kiddos from K- through fifth-(grades) wrote inspirational, encouraging notes and we stuffed them in the bags. It was really cool,” Knight said.
The assembly line of staff and board members Monday morning was organized and quick. YMCA Executive Director Elisabeth Cassiday said food was everywhere — while organized — and the crews volunteering completed the trays in 30 minutes to ensure they would be delivered in time for students to receive before testing began.
Board members and staff assembling the trays also wrote encouraging notes to students to accompany the healthy food. Cassiday said the quick work resulted in great payoff for what the Y could do for the children.