Children who start their school day without a healthy meal are much less likely to have the nutrition they need to concentrate and learn. With growing poverty in New Jersey, “breakfast after the bell” is one of the most effective ways to battle childhood hunger.
We would like to commend the many Camden County school districts that have made the switch to serving breakfast in the first few minutes of school, rather than before school starts. Breakfast in the classroom just takes ten minutes. Teachers across the state have found easy ways to incorporate lessons into breakfast time – or to tend to daily housekeeping tasks while children eat. What’s more, the state education department has determined that breakfast can count toward the required instructional time.
School leaders in districts like Camden saw a huge spike in the number of kids participating in the school breakfast program by simply changing the time when morning meals are served (from 45 percent in 2013 to 78 percent in 2014). We applaud their efforts and encourage more Camden County districts to implement breakfast after the bell, especially Brooklawn and Clementon. Combined, nearly 400 more children from low-income families could benefit from the school breakfast program. Not only would these children benefit from starting the day with a morning meal, but the entire school community will reap the rewards of ensuring that every single child begins their school day with a full stomach.
Advocates for Children of New Jersey, Newark
Co-chair of the NJ Food for Thought School Breakfast Campaign