Eating a healthy breakfast before school is proven to improve academic performance and overall concentration in students. No child can learn on an empty stomach, and studies show that eating a balanced breakfast can reduce visits to the nurses office and reduces absenteeism. Still, only 54% of kids who receive free or reduced lunches are participating in school breakfast each day. Improving daily breakfast participation benefits both students and the schools.
The School Breakfast Program is one of several Child Nutrition Programs sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Ohio Department of Education, which provides meal reimbursements for students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
While many schools currently offer school breakfast to students, reports show that less children access school breakfast than school lunches, often for reasons that can be addressed if school breakfast is made a priority. Children’s Hunger Alliance consults with local school districts to improve access to breakfast and can also provide financial grants to support expansion efforts.
Thanks to support from the Walmart Foundation, Children’s Hunger Alliance provided grants totaling $275,000 to 41 local school districts throughout Ohio to support the expansion of school breakfast in the 2015-2016 school year. After consulting with food services, principals and superintendents, Children’s Hunger Alliance recommends best practices to increase breakfast participation, including:
- Grab and go breakfast
- Vending machines
- Breakfast in the classroom
If your school is located in a high-need area and currently has low breakfast participation, grant funding may be available to help support your implementation of breakfast in the classroom, please visit Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom to learn more.