***For Immediate Release***
March 8, 2018
Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
Mobile: (402) 840-7289
New Report: Tools available to help Nebraska Schools fight student hunger
Data shows Nebraska lags in national school breakfast rankings, but some schools finding success fighting classroom hunger with innovative strategies
LINCOLN — National data shows Nebraska falls behind national benchmarks of serving low-income, high-need students healthy and nutritious breakfasts at school, which puts many students from low-income families at risk of falling behind in the classroom.
However, a new report released today by Nebraska Appleseed that coincides with National School Lunch Week describes how our state’s schools can fight classroom hunger through new, proven-successful strategies that reduce burdens on administrators and make sure Nebraska students have the meals they need for educational success.
“We know poverty and hunger impacts students in every school district in our state, from small towns to urban areas,” said Nebraska Appleseed Economic Justice Program Associate Eric Savaiano, one of the report’s authors. “This report lays out the landscape of how our schools currently fare in offering a crucial meal to students and highlights more options and models for schools to ensure all of our children are getting the meals they need to learn, grow, and be healthy.”
Some highlights of the report:
- Nebraska fails to meet the national benchmark of serving breakfast to 7 in 10 students who also are eligible for free and reduced-price Lunch.
- Nebraska ranks 48th out of 50 states and D.C. in providing school breakfast to eligible students.
- Consequences of undernourished students included poorer health and educational outcomes.
- Some barriers to providing breakfast to students can be easily overcome by school districts if they are committed to making strides to improve student health.
The report also explores alternative breakfast models some Nebraska school districts already are using to increase participation and makes recommendations for schools to allow more students to start the day with a nutritious meal, including:
- Implement a universal meals program for eligible school districts
- Explore serving breakfast through an alternative breakfast model that allows students to have breakfast in their classrooms
- Improved clarity from the Nebraska Department of Education on data collection.
“When our kids don’t have to worry about hunger during the school day, everyone wins,” Savaiano said. “As a state, we can and must do a better job meeting the hunger needs of Nebraska’s kids,” Savaiano said. “If schools improved breakfast participation to meet national benchmarks we would ensure more of our students were meeting their potential and bring millions of additional federal dollars into our schools.”
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