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Why Low-Income Students Aren’t Eating This Meal and What is Being Done About It

By: Krystle Crossman

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for a child. A healthy breakfast can help them to concentrate and learn more while they are in school. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) pulled data together for a report and found that one in five kids are in families that rely on food stamps. They also found that nearly half of these low-income students do not eat breakfast.

FRAC found that there are 21 million students that are currently on the free or reduced lunch plans with their schools and only 11.2 million of those students are eating the free and reduced breakfast that they have access to as well. They state that a lot of those children that do not show up for the breakfast are children who have parents that cannot get out of the house any earlier than they already do or their parents are so busy with their jobs that they cannot get the kids to school that early. This isn’t to say that all children that are in low-income families are not eating breakfast, but a great number of them are and that is concerning. FRAC states that if they could raise the number of children that came in for the breakfast in the morning at their school by 20% it is possible that 807,000 more children would graduate from high school due to increased academic performance.

Many of the children that come from homes where food is not readily available are often ashamed of this and are afraid that they will be teased by their classmates if they are seen eating breakfast at the school or if they admit that they can’t afford breakfast in the morning. Some school districts have implemented a “grab and go” procedure where there are kiosks in the hallway where kids can grab what they would like for breakfast and take it back to the classroom to eat before class starts. It is a small step in allowing kids who may not be able to afford breakfast to get a healthy meal in the morning without worrying about ridicule from their peers.

The “grab and go” procedure was started in Los Angeles and has since seen an increase of over 117,000 kids eating breakfast with the free or reduced program. Share Our Strength, a non-profit group working with the No Kid Hungry campaign, has seen such positive results that they are hoping to implement this program in school districts all over the country.

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