More Virginia students have access to breakfast, according to 2019 School Breakfast Report

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

For students who come from food insecure households, school breakfast can be the first meal after hours or even an entire weekend without food. School meals are vitally important to communities with high levels of poverty and insecurity.

In our 2019 annual school breakfast report, we’ve outlined how each federal nutrition program works, the participation rates in those programs, and how school divisions can improve their participation—especially among students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. One program in particular, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), helps high poverty schools provide free meals to all of its students, regardless of ability to pay, and usually increases participation significantly. If 100 free and reduced-price eligible students eat breakfast, breakfast reaches 64 of those students. Traditionally, lunch has higher participation rates, but thanks to CEP, school divisions are making substantial gains in breakfast participation. Four years ago when we started writing the breakfast report, breakfast reached only 57 students.

Thanks to innovative thinking and federal nutrition programs, breakfast is reaching more students who likely come from food insecure homes. School meals provide a much-needed break in the cycle of hunger. We hope Virginia schools continue to expand breakfast for those who are most vulnerable.

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