BELDING, Mich. - Citing hard economic times, Belding Area Schools will begin giving breakfast to every student, not just those eligible due to family income, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Simple foods like fruit, yogurt, cereal and cheese sticks will be offered in classrooms during the first few minutes of the school day, according to The Press. Superintendent Charles Barker told The Press that rising unemployment and the cost of food were factors in the decision, but also that many children skip breakfast if their working parents are not at home in the morning.

School board President Debra Bach said the closing of Electrolux hit the area hard, according to The Press. More than 50 percent of Belding students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Cheboygan Area Schools reported fewer tardies, better attendance and better student attention after implementing a similar breakfast program through a federal grant,  the Press reported. Belding will pay for its program with surplus money in its cafeteria fund.

The Grand Rapids Press, "Belding schools will offer free breakfast to all student," Oct. 21, 2008

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Michigan School Money Primer: ‘31d School Lunch,'" May 30, 2007