New Report: Go Big Breakfast helping Nebraska schools fight hunger

***For Immediate Release***
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Contact: Eric Savaiano
Economic Justice Senior Program Coordinator
Office: (402) 438-8853 ext 126

New Report: Go Big Breakfast helping Nebraska schools fight hunger

Schools are seeing better results in student health and academic performance

LINCOLN, NE – National data shows Nebraska continues to trail behind nearly all states in providing children with nutritious breakfast, however momentum is growing this year with an average daily participation increase of 900 students. Released in celebration of National School Breakfast Week (March 2-6), the Nebraska School Breakfast Report Year 2018-19 by Nebraska Appleseed and Go Big Breakfast, identifies pockets of success and new opportunities to ensure hungry students get a nutritious breakfast at school to support their classroom achievement.

The report examines state school districts’ breakfast and lunch program participation and discusses how educators can better fight classroom hunger through proven-successful strategies underway in some Nebraska schools.

Report highlights:

  • Nebraska ranks 48th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in the percentage of students receiving free or reduced-priced school breakfast who also participate in lunch (44.7 percent).
  • In the 2018-19 school year, Nebraska free and reduced price meal-eligible students ate 44.7 breakfasts for every 100 lunches, up from 44.1 the year before.
  • Alternative breakfast models and universal free meal options do a far better job of getting food to students in need compared with traditional cafeteria service. These programs are under-utilized in Nebraska, resulting in less federal reimbursement and more spending on managing meal debt.

Support for the report was provided by the Food Research and Action Center, Walmart Foundation, and Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom.

Download: Nebraska School Breakfast Report, School Year 2018-19

View: Nebraska Appleseed interactive map of district performance

“Students in every Nebraska community are facing hunger. For some, school meals may be the only meals they get in a day,” said Eric Savaiano, Nebraska Appleseed’s economic justice senior program coordinator and report author. “Our school districts make critical decisions when planning school breakfast programs that affect not just students’ ability to eat a nutritious meal, but also their health and academic performance. This report is designed to help educators make choices that ensure all students who need a meal get fed while maintaining the district’s financial stability – a win-win for students and schools.”

The report’s release coincides with the announcement of 20 schools being awarded $56,000 worth of Go Big Breakfast grants supported by the No Kid Hungry campaign. These schools applied to switch to or start an alternative breakfast model like grab and go, second chance breakfast, or breakfast in the classroom at their schools to support feeding more students.

“Go Big Breakfast is thrilled with the support from our national anti-hunger partner, the No Kid Hungry campaign,” Savaiano said. “With these grants, we hope to show districts that it doesn’t take much to launch an alternative breakfast program and the results are improved school climate, healthier kids, better performance on tests, and better prepared kids. We encourage every school breakfast decision maker from parent to administrator to see what they can do to improve breakfast in their schools.”

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