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Hunger is sad reality for too many children

Hunger Solutions New York encourages the Buffalo School District to retain its Breakfast in the Classroom program. Buffalo schools are home to the largest number of students in the state outside of New York City. Buffalo’s effective Breakfast in the Classroom program sets a statewide example for other districts looking to increase the number of students who eat a federally funded school breakfast. Ending the program could result in more than 36,000 food-insecure children losing access to breakfast.

Hunger is an unfortunate reality for too many children. Eighty-six percent of students in Buffalo qualify for free or reduced-cost school meals based on income. Of those who qualify, 63 percent of low-income students ate breakfast last year, exceeding the state average of 29 percent. The city’s program is necessary to respond to an overwhelming need and ensure every student can start the day with a healthy meal.

Breakfast in the Classroom programs are recognized nationally as a key strategy for urban school districts, like Buffalo, to expand breakfast participation among low-income students. Providing students with breakfast is associated with improved academic performance and overall learning achievements. Hundreds of parents, educators, health professionals and child health advocates, including New York State’s education commissioner, recognize classroom breakfast as a proven and effective strategy to support the health and academic potential of low-income children.

Schools throughout the state have overcome the issue of cleanliness regarding classroom breakfast. Resources are available to help both administrators and teachers to work together to resolve this issue so children continue to benefit from reliable nutritious breakfasts.

We encourage the Buffalo Board of Education to continue to support the well-being and academic achievement of its students by offering Breakfast in the Classroom this fall and beyond.

Linda Bopp

Executive Director

Hunger Solutions New York