Sunday, March 5, 2017
National School Breakfast Week:
You know those sayings that you’ve heard so many times in your life that they just become ingrained in the back of your mind? For me, the phrase ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ fits into this category. Although I know breakfast is important, I think the phrase has been used so much that many people, including myself, forget just why. With National School Breakfast Week coming up this week, I think it is important to be reminded why breakfast is so valuable to a child’s education.
According to the USDA, in 2015, over 90,000 schools served school breakfast to 14 million students each day. Out of these 14 million breakfasts, 11 million each day were free breakfasts for students from low-income families. That means that without meal assistance, approximately 11 million students everyday are at risk of going hungry! By feeding students school breakfasts, they are more likely to reach higher levels of achievement in reading and math, have better concentration, participate in class, and retain more of what they learn. Studies also show that offering free school breakfast results in better attendance records. The point is that, the 2.3 billion school breakfasts served annually, many of these free or reduced, greatly help children and especially those from low income families, to have a more equal playing field in life. Hunger reinforces the cycle of poverty. Arriving to school hungry every day prevents students from reaching their potential. By providing breakfast to those who cannot afford it, kids are no longer held back by hunger and are given a fairer chance to be successful in school.
Knowing the importance of eating breakfast, what are some ways to spread awareness of the value of school breakfasts? Some ideas for this year’s National School Breakfast Week include creating a school breakfast challenge! Students are handed a card at the beginning of the week and receive a hole punch every day they purchase a breakfast item. At the end of the week, students who have 5 hole punches are entered into a raffle! Cards can be downloaded at www.schoolnutrition.org/NSBW. Other ideas include having a school art contest or a classroom photo contest centered on the topic of National School Breakfast Week! Posting pictures online or hanging artwork around the school can help spark dialogue on the importance of school breakfast. For more National School Breakfast Week ideas, visit the School Nutrition Association website at the following link: http://schoolnutrition.org/Meetings/Events/NSBW/2017/getstarted/
-- Jamie Oriol
SLU student and