STATEMENT: Share Our Strength’s Billy Shore on ‘Breakfast After The Bell’ Legislation

News, Press / Media Release

Contact: Ariane Holm | 202.649.4350 | aholm@strength.org

STATEMENT: Share Our Strength’s Billy Shore on ‘Breakfast After The Bell’ Legislation

Denver (January 29, 2013) – Following is a statement from Billy Shore, founder and CEO of the national child anti-hunger nonprofit Share Our Strength, in support of ‘Breakfast after the Bell’ (HB-1006) legislation which would require every school with 70 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch to offer breakfast to each student in the school. ‘Breakfast After The Bell’ was discussed on Monday in front of Colorado’s House Education Committee and passed by a vote of 11-2.

“Study after study shows that breakfast is critical to a child’s health, education and economic outcomes. That is why Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is joining with Hunger Free Colorado and several other organizations to support the important ‘Breakfast After The Bell’ legislation.

If the legislation has the estimated impact, more than 84,000 additional children would receive breakfast every day. A recent analysis of third party studies and public data conducted by Deloitte indicates that in schools with a Breakfast in the Classroom program in Colorado, the potential impact could be as much as: 125,000 fewer absences; 84,000 students achieving higher math test scores; and, 21,000 more high school graduates.

Innovative programs like ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ go a long way in breaking down barriers and making it easier for children to start their day with a healthy meal. Recently, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a letter to the nation’s education community urging them to consider alternative breakfast programs like ‘Breakfast After the Bell.’

Teachers know that students who struggle with hunger can’t learn and that that starting the school day with breakfast can make all the difference. A 2012 nationwide survey of K-8 teachers by Share Our Strength found that teachers credit breakfast with increased concentration (95%), better academic performance (89%) and better behavior in the classroom (73%). Additionally, students who eat breakfast consistently show improvement in verbal fluency, arithmetic, tests of attention, memory, creativity, physical endurance, and general tests of academic achievement and cognitive functioning.

The findings among programs where breakfast is served to all students, as the ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ legislation would do, also have compelling results. Students in these programs have lower rates of absence and tardiness. In addition, children who eat a good breakfast develop healthy eating habits, visit the school nurse less frequently and are less likely to be obese.

The National School Breakfast Program is paid for entirely by the federal government, however states do not receive the funding until students are participating in the program. During the 2011-2012 school year, if Colorado had at least a 70 percent participation in the school breakfast program, the state could have brought more than $14.5 million in already allocated federal funding to pay for school meals. By increasing funding in this program, Colorado will bring in federal funding.

By passing this legislation, Colorado would become a leader in ensuring that children have access to the food they need to start their days ready to learn. As we know from research and evidence at the state and federal level, school breakfast can have a critical impact on a student’s ability to learn and taking measures to increase access to this program – as this legislation would do – would place Colorado at the forefront of policy on children’s welfare and educational attainment.”

For any questions or to speak to Share Our Strength, please contact Ariane Holm at aholm@strength.org or 202-649-4350.

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About SHARE OUR STRENGTH’S NO KID HUNGRY CAMPAIGN

No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters.  This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.

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