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September 17, 2019
The importance of making breakfast part of the regular school day for kids

Arriving anywhere early in the morning can be a challenge. School is no different. For this reason, many students who want to eat school breakfast miss their opportunity when it is served before school in the cafeteria. Project Bread helps schools make breakfast part of their regular school day, by serving "Breakfast After the Bell", so students like Domonic don't have to wait to eat until lunch if they are running ontime for school—but not early. 

Timing is everything, and that’s especially true for high school junior, Dominic.  Dominic’s father starts his work shift at 5 AM.  That means Dominic needs to wake up on time, get his little sister out of bed, and make sure they’re washed, dressed, and have their homework.  Then they walk to his sister’s school, where Dominic drops her off before walking almost a mile to his own. If he arrives early enough, he’ll get breakfast - if not, he’ll be hungry until lunch. That was the case, at least, until “Breakfast After the Bell” came along.

“Breakfast After the Bell” is proven to dramatically increase student participation in breakfast programs by as much as 85%.

Like many of the 400,000 low-income students in Massachusetts, Dominic relies on his school’s free breakfast program.  Due to timing however, when breakfast is served before the school day begins, Dominic isn’t always able to eat.  That’s exactly the kind of situation for which “Breakfast After the Bell” was designed.  Its models include: Second Chance Breakfast, where kids are served breakfast in the cafeteria following the first period of the day; Breakfast in the Classroom, where food is delivered to each classroom after school begins; and Grab and Go, where students pick up bagged or boxed breakfast from carts or specified areas.  

Math, reading, and science test scores have risen 25% when school breakfast is eaten every day.

What all these models hold in common is that no one misses out, no one feels singled out, and every child has equitable access to breakfast.

Serving school breakfast, however, isn’t as straightforward as it may appear. Yes, schools are reimbursed for the cost of the meals they serve, but a lot goes into starting—and maintaining—school meals programs. Thanks to Project Bread’s 20 year experience, we have the expertise needed to provide schools with program support regarding their breakfast programs.  This includes everything from tools to analyze financial viability, to trainings for food service staff, to expertise in outreach strategies, to promotional resources, to regulatory compliance support, and on and on.

Eating school breakfast every day reduces absences by up to 46%.

Thanks to our donors, Project Bread is also able to provide schools financial support through grants.  This includes Dominic’s school in Leominster.  Project Bread worked with the Leominster Public School district to determine which “Breakfast After the Bell” model would work best in their school to allow for the highest participation, and provided the district with almost $13,000 in financial support to purchase necessary equipment, including cold-storage delivery bags and rolling grab & go carts. Dominic is just one of more than 3,000 students impacted by our work, and for him, the timing couldn’t be better.

Author(s): Project Bread

Filed under: News and Events, Teacher Champions, Children and Schools, General, Donor