Breakfast after the bell/student meal programs
NJEA supports S-1894, 1895, 1896, and 1897 (Ruiz, Turner). Taken together, these bills will help increase the number of students receiving meals through school breakfast and lunch programs. The bills would require districts with more than 70% of students eligible for free and reduced meals to establish breakfast after the bell programs and expand summer meal programs.
Research shows that when children come to school without breakfast their overall health and ability to learn suffers. Having nutritious meals to start the day helps students perform better academically, have better school attendance, and maintain better health.
Currently, New Jersey law requires districts with 20% of eligible students to offer school breakfast. Serving breakfast after school starts will help ensure that more students have access to the food. Depending on the age of students and the school, these breakfasts can be served in the classroom, done as a “grab and go” breakfast at the beginning of the day, or served after first period either during a nutrition break period or as a “grab and go” meal. Regardless of how the meal is served, it only benefits children.
Ensuring that students in need are fed benefits everyone: students, families, educators, and schools. Individual students are no longer hungry, families face less economic stress when they have summer meals for children, educators are facing students who are more able to learn, and schools have better learning outcomes and achievement.
NJEA asks you to support these bills. They benefit our children.
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