School Breakfast Essential to Student Success, Yet Too Many District Students Are Missing Out
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2023 — Successful implementation of the School Breakfast Program is essential to children’s health and academic success, yet far too many students are missing out, according to a new report released today by D.C. Hunger Solutions.
The District of Columbia’s School Breakfast Scorecard for School Year 2021–2022 reveals that less than half of D.C.’s schools reached the school breakfast participation goal of serving 70 percent of students school breakfast during the 2021–2022 academic year.
“We know that children can’t learn on an empty stomach,” said LaMonika N. Jones, interim director of D.C. Hunger Solutions. “While there have been some improvements, many families are still recovering from the fallout of the pandemic and have been thrust into a hunger cliff amid the ending of pandemic-era waivers and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program emergency allotments. Now more than ever, school breakfast is needed to reduce child hunger across the District.”
Successfully implementing the School Breakfast Program is vital to fueling children’s health and learning. The scorecard provides recommendations to improve school breakfast participation, including:
- Universal School Meals Amendment Act: This legislation would provide free school breakfast, lunch, and afterschool snacks to all students in public, public charter, and participating private schools.
- School Breakfast Program Expansion Grant: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorized funds to be distributed to state agencies for the purpose of the breakfast expansion grant to increase student participation in the School Breakfast Program.
- Proposed Rule Expanding Community Eligibility Provision: USDA FNS published a proposed rule expanding access to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) by lowering the minimum identified student percentage participation threshold from 40 percent to 25 percent. Lowering the threshold would allow more high-need schools the option to adopt CEP and offer all students school meals at no cost when it is financially viable.
The full D.C. school breakfast report is available online.
About D.C. Hunger Solutions:
D.C. Hunger Solutions, founded in 2002 as an initiative of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), works to create a hunger-free community and improve the nutrition, health, economic security, and well-being of low-income people in the District of Columbia. To learn more about D.C. Hunger Solutions, visit www.dchunger.org.