According to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry, food insecurity exists in 17.2 million households in America. As if that statistic is not powerful enough, over 3.9 million of those households include children. Of these households, 59 percent report participating in one or more federal programs, including SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), the National School Lunch Program and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). These numbers indicate that even while receiving help and trying to get back on their feet, families are still struggling to make ends meet. The numbers are striking and should mobilize all of us to do our part to make them non-existent.
With the staggering numbers of food insecure households, it is no surprise that school breakfast and lunch programs have become a necessity for many families. No Kid Hungry reports that over 20 million children receive a free or reduced-price lunch at school on an average day. It is surprising though that only about 9.8 million of those students get a free or reduced-price breakfast. It is exactly these type of statistics that caused the Food Bank of Delaware in coordination with the Delaware Department of Education to write our first Breakfast First: A State-Wide Report in 2014. It was in this report that we were able to highlight the work being done in schools across our state and highlight the need for more accessible school breakfast programs. The statistics do not lie when it comes to the importance of children having a good breakfast.
- As reported by No Kid Hungry, students who regularly start the day with a healthy breakfast have a 17.5 percent average increase in standardized math scores and are in school 1.5 more days on average.
- According to the National Institutes of Health, undernourished children don’t learn as fast or as well as nourished children.
- Children’s Health Watch reports that children who struggle with hunger are sick more, recover slower and are hospitalized more frequently.
- Schools report making breakfast mandatory on standardized testing days.
The Food Bank of Delaware recognizes the importance of this issue and in June of 2017 issue the Second Edition of the “Breakfast First: A State-Wide Report.” You can check it out here.
For more information about school breakfast and efforts to enhance it across the country, please visit: