We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But at Fruit Valley Community Learning Center, the meal’s importance extends beyond nutrition.

Former Fruit Valley students have for several years returned to their elementary school in the morning. An average of 25 students, most now attending Discovery Middle School, gather daily in the Family-Community Resource Center. They eat breakfast and/or visit with the staff before middle school starts.

The breakfasts are the brainchild of the school’s Family-Community Resource Center coordinator, Staci Boehlke. The food is provided by some of the school’s partners: River’s Edge Church, Messiah Lutheran, NuStar Energy, Nalco, Cadet Manufacturing, the Fruit Valley Foundation and Habit for Humanity.

Returning to his old elementary school makes Kid Pison a little nostalgic. “I made a lot of new friends, and I learned a lot,” he says of his time at Fruit Valley.

Victoria Alyayeva, who is part of a student leadership class at Discovery, likes meeting new people during the breakfasts. “You get to interact with new people, talk with them and see what they’re like, instead of staying in your own bubble. You get to express yourself,” she says.

Volunteers agree that the arrangement has benefits. “If I didn’t see the kids here, it would be a lot harder for me to hang out with them at a bus stop and carry on a conversation. That’s the mentoring part of it, caring for the kids,” says Kyle Beck of River’s Edge.

When the first bell rings at Fruit Valley, the students finish eating and leave quickly. Time catch the bus and begin another school day.

But they’ll be back soon.

After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.