AUGUSTA, Maine, June 27, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Tusk / Montgomery Philanthropies today commended Governor Janet Mills and the state legislature for signing Breakfast After the Bell legislation into law in Maine.
Breakfast After the Bell allows schools across the state to provide the meals in the classroom before the school day begins, after first period, or through a "grab and go" option.
One in five Maine children lives in a food insecure home. Nearly half of Maine kids qualify for free or reduced-price meals, including breakfast. But nearly 60% of eligible students who participate in free and reduced-price lunch programs do not also participate in school breakfast. Offering breakfast in the classroom is shown to dramatically increase rates of participation among the students who need it most.
The Act To Address Student Hunger with a "Breakfast after the Bell" Program provides funding for breakfast after the bell to all students in Maine public schools where more than 50% of students are eligible for free and reduced price meals. When fully implemented, the program would give over 45,000 students access to breakfast every day, and also bring an estimated $13,000,000 federal dollars into Maine schools every year.
"When kids are hungry, they can't learn. Expanding the Breakfast after the Bell program will ensure that more students have equal access to healthy food, and can reach their full potential," says the bill's sponsor Senator Shenna Bellows. "I'm grateful for all the supporters who worked on this policy, and for the governor for signing this bill into law. This will make a real difference in the lives of so many Maine kids."
Research shows that students who eat breakfast at school have better attendance records, improved test scores, higher graduation rates, and higher earning potential as adults. Students that eat breakfast have better rates of concentration, alertness, memory, and comprehension. Without breakfast in the classroom, children that qualify for school breakfast are far less likely to participate.
The legislative effort was led by Preble Street, in partnership with Tusk / Montgomery Philanthropies (TMP), the family foundation of venture capitalist and political strategist Bradley Tusk. In addition to today's legislative victory, TMP recently worked with legislative leaders to secure Breakfast After the Bell for students in New Jersey, Tennessee, Washington, Illinois and Pennsylvania, and expanded access to food stamps in North Carolina.
"More than 45,000 kids in Maine will now have school breakfast thanks to Governor Mills and the state Assembly," says Bradley Tusk. "In addition, I want to thank Senator Shenna Bellows for sponsoring the bill. Thank you also to Senators Marianne Moore, Ned Claxton, Rebecca Millett, Kimberly Rosen, Eloise Vitelli, and Representatives William Tuell, Abigail Griffin and Colleen Madigan for their support. This is a common sense approach to improving educational outcomes for all students. We look forward to continuing this effort across the country in the future."
Contact: Kate Preziosi // [email protected]
SOURCE Tusk / Montgomery Philanthropies