SNOW HILL, N.C. (WNCT) — Join 9OYS for NOW in ENC. It’s a time for our digital reporters to dive into local topics in Eastern North Carolina and host guests to further the conversation.

In this edition of NOW in ENC, 9OYS chats with Greene County Schools Superintendent Patrick Miller about the importance of National School Breakfast Week.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Experts have long linked academic success and healthy eating, stating that consistent nutritious meals are critical to children’s overall mental and physical health.

The project was first pushed by Kentucky Congressman Carl Perkins, who was worried about children going to school on an empty stomach. He proposed serving free breakfast to school-going children from low-income families.

It took months, but in 1966, Congress finally launched a two-year pilot project known as the “School Breakfast Program.” The permanent adoption of the program happened in 1975 following incredible popularity across the country.

National School Breakfast Week was officially adopted in 1989 to raise awareness about the success of the program and the steps that still need to be taken.

According to the USDA website, prior to the pandemic in 2019, over 90,000 schools/institutions served school breakfasts to 14.77 million students each day.