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No Kid Hungry Campaign Issues Challenge to Nation’s Leaders

The No Kid Hungry campaign today challenged America’s leaders to connect 1 million more low-income children in this nation to school breakfast over the next two years. Currently, just over half of our nation’s kids who need a free or reduced-price breakfast are getting one.

“Eating a healthy breakfast dramatically changes kids’ lives,” said Academy Award-winning actor, Jeff Bridges, national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry campaign. “Too many kids are starting the day too hungry to learn. Today we’re challenging the nation to join us in connecting a million more children to breakfast in the classroom in the next two years.”

Schools are ground zero for seeing hunger and experiencing its effects. In a recent survey conducted by the No Kid Hungry campaign, three out of four public school teachers say they currently have kids in their classrooms who are struggling with hunger.

School breakfast is a critical but underutilized national program that bears a direct impact of children’s academic achievement and health. Research conducted by Deloitte Consulting shows that when kids consistently eat breakfast at school, attendance rates improve and math test scores rise up to 17.5 percent.¬†Parents, kids, and school leaders cite reasons such as stigma of eating breakfast alone in the cafeteria, signaling you are poor (unlike lunch, where all kids eat together); transportation problems (buses not delivering kids to school in time for breakfast); and misperceptions about the value of serving breakfast in new ways (such as serving it in the classroom as part of first period) as reasons why more low-income kids aren’t getting this vital meal as intended.

“Making sure kids are eating a daily breakfast is a big step toward ending childhood hunger,” said Share Our Strength Founder and CEO Bill Shore. “It’s time we close the breakfast gap.¬† We can unlock better health and academic achievement for all our kids through simple acts like moving breakfast to be an integrated part of the school day.”

The No Kid Hungry campaign currently works with elected officials, corporate leaders, school officials, and others in the non-profit community on innovative strategies like moving breakfast out of the cafeteria and into the classroom. The new website, NoKidHungry.org/Breakfast, has tested strategies, advocacy tools and research that can help communities more rapidly connect more low-income children to this critical morning meal.

Since the launch of the No Kid Hungry campaign, 2 million more low-income kids are getting a healthy school breakfast and states including Maryland, Colorado, Arkansas and Texas have passed legislation to ensure more kids get breakfast in school daily. New legislation is pending in states like Nebraska and New Jersey.