What if you were among the 1 in 5 kids at risk of hunger in the United States? Or, one of the 400,000 kids the Children's Alliance estimates living in a food insecure household in WA?
What if..... you were Ed, a single dad struggling to get by each day. Your SNAP (food stamps) benefits were cut and your don't have anything in the Cupboard for breakfast? Your two kids will go to school with empty bellies.
What if....you were Emily, a six year old who came to school without breakfast? Now you are struggling to concentrate on your spelling worlds and distracting other kids.
What if.....you were Jon, a hungry 12 year old whose bus gets to school after breakfast is served at school? You have a big math test but your stomach is growling, making it very hard to concentrate.
What if....you were Ms. Wachter, a young teacher with a number of hungry kids in your third grade classroom? Hungry kids are easily distracted and struggle to focus. You buy granola bars from Costco but have limited resources to keep up with demand.
What if.....your kid was hungry and you couldn't make your limited dollars stretch any further? What would you do?
A report commissioned by Share Our Strength, a national leader in fighting child hunger, found that 90% of educators believe breakfast is critical to academic achievement. Unfortunately, they also found that 73% of teachers have students who regularly come to school hungry because they don't have enough food at home. Hungry kids can't learn.
Congress realized that Breakfast Matters in the mid 1960's. As a result they launched the National School Breakfast Program to compliment the National School Lunch Programs (links available once the gov. is back up and running). The program is highly effective but less than 50% of eligible kids participate. That means too many kids - like Emily and Jon - go without the food they need to fuel them through the school day.
A leading reason kids don't participate.... breakfast is served before kids get to school. This is a no brainer. We can change this. Moving breakfast after the bell means more kids with full tummies. It means leveraging millions of federal dollars to put cafeteria staff to work. It means more kids are prepared to succeed I school.
Last year the state of Colorado passed legislation mandating school breakfast happen after the bell in low income districts. They followed other communities, including DC and New Mexico, in implementing Breakfast After the Bell. We could do that in WA. WA anti-hunger advocates exploring similar legislation and need your help to make it a reality. What if your family hit hard times? What if your kids went to school hungry?. School Breakfast can help - but only if kids can access it.. We can make it happen - now is the time. Let's do this one simple thing for kids in Washington this year.