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November 7, 2019
Breakfast After the Bell Voted Out of Committee!

An Act Regarding Breakfast After the Bell (S.267/H.591) was reported out favorably by the Joint Education Committee!

Project Bread applauds the Joint Committee on Education for taking a step toward ensuring children and teens across the Commonwealth have greater access to school breakfast by reporting An Act Regarding Breakfast After the Bell out of committee favorably. We now urge the House of Representatives and Senate to pass this bill into law as quickly as possible so more children can start their day nourished and ready to learn.

For nearly 25 years, Project Bread has been partnering with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to implement breakfast after the bell in districts and schools across the state. While we are incredibly proud of the progress we have made, our progress is steady but slow. We recognize that in order to have the greatest impact, we need legislation requiring schools with over 60% of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch to provide breakfast after the bell. Right now, only reaching 39% of low-income students are eating school breakfast. Massachusetts can do better.

A similar bill passed the Senate unanimously during the previous legislative session, but was not voted on by House of Representatives. With 1 in 9 Massachusetts children struggling with food insecurity, we cannot delay. Passing An Act Regarding Breakfast After the Bell into law will increase access to over 150,000 students, ensuring more children are able to eat at least two meals at school each day—breakfast and lunch.

On the heels of the Student Opportunity Act which represents a $1.5 billion investment in public education, it is essential we meet the needs of all our students starting with breakfast. We know a hungry student can’t learn. Without also passing breakfast after the bell, the students across the Commonwealth will continue to struggle to get the most from their school day.

We are grateful for the leadership of our legislative champions, specifically sponsors Senator Sal DiDomenico, Representative Aaron Vega, and Representative Andres Vargas. We also thank the chairs of the Joint Committee on Education, Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Alice Peisch for reporting the bill out. Project Bread and our partners look forward to seeing An Act Regarding Breakfast After the Bell voted in both chambers soon.

Filed under: Informing Public Policy