More than a quarter million NC public school students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals eat school lunch, but not school breakfast — even though it is available to them, and they likely need it.
But that number is shrinking. Since No Kid Hungry NC started in 2011, the percentage of free and reduced price-eligible students eating school lunch who are also eating school breakfast has grown from about 40% to almost 60% — a powerful indicator that school breakfast is becoming more accessible for students.
No Kid Hungry NC’s school breakfast program success stories include the NC School Breakfast Challenge, and the 2018-19 Breakfast After the Bell Initiative grants with the Office of the Governor and other partners.
Many barriers stand between students and eating school breakfast, from transportation to cafeteria logistics to stigma. Innovative Breakfast After the Bell methods of serving school breakfast — including Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab and Go, and Second Chance Breakfast — can break down these barriers. No Kid Hungry NC is working with nutrition directors, principals, superintendents, and more to implement these creative, low-cost ways of increasing school breakfast participation across the state.
Breakfast After the Bell makes breakfast a part of the school day for all students, and is proven to raise participation levels on average to as high as 90 percent. And the more students who eat school breakfast, the more students getting the benefits of starting their day with a healthy meal: better academic performance, more days of school attended, fewer discipline issues, and fewer tardies.
These methods are designed to increase access to the School Breakfast Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and plays a crucial role in making sure kids get the food they need to focus and excel in the classroom.
Research shows that school breakfast is good for kids, classroom, and communities. Children who eat a good breakfast tend to perform between in school, have better attendance, and exhibit fewer behavior problems.
Here are five ways school breakfast benefits kids:
Every time we feed a child, we’re unlocking their ability to grow up to become the next future teachers, scientists and entrepreneurs. To learn more, the Study on Chronic Absenteeism and Breakfast After the Bell is new research that shows the impact serving breakfast as part of the school day has on student outcomes. In addition, the No Kid Hungry Starts with Breakfast report describes a social impact analysis that examines the impact school breakfast has on kids and classrooms.
Since March 2020: