WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As schools get ready to welcome back students this fall, a free morning meal will be available to even more students thanks to Breakfast in the Classroom, a program funded by the Walmart Foundation. Including the new schools participating this school year, Breakfast in the Classroom will offer more than 62,000 children the opportunity to start their school day with breakfast.
Funded through a $3.15 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, Breakfast in the Classroom is a joint initiative from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation, National Education Association Health Information Network, and School Nutrition Foundation -- collectively known as the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom. The Partners chose five school districts based on need and potential for success to participate in Breakfast in the Classroom, including: Dallas Independent School District, Texas; Little Rock School District, Arkansas; Memphis City Schools, Tennessee; Orange County Public Schools, Florida (including Orlando); and Prince George's County Public Schools, Maryland. With data consistently showing the underutilization of the federal School Breakfast Program, Breakfast in the Classroom reworks the way school breakfast is served by offering it to all students and moving it from the cafeteria to the classroom.
"The benefits of eating breakfast at school are well-documented and expansive, with researchers reporting improvements to standardized tests, vocabulary, concentration, behavior and even reduced obesity rates," said Rob Monson, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, speaking on behalf of the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom. "This year, we look forward to seeing the Breakfast in the Classroom program expand across more communities and more children starting their day off right with a meal that not only benefits them, but impacts the daily lives of their parents and school staff."
Late arrivals to school and reluctance to be labeled "low income" are among the reasons that many students do not participate in cafeteria-based school breakfast. In fact, while most U.S. schools participate in the federal School Breakfast Program, less than half of the low-income children eligible for a free or reduced-price breakfast are eating it, according to 2011 FRAC research.
"The success of Breakfast in the Classroom can be attributed to the dedicated efforts of the Partners and the local school districts, who worked together to make school breakfast more accessible and reduce the number of children who start the school day hungry," said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. "We are proud to be a part of this program that addresses the issue of child hunger at the local level where strategic changes can benefit the lives of thousands of our nation's children."
Breakfast in the Classroom is part of a $2 billion commitment by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to fight hunger in America through 2015. For more information, visit www.breakfastintheclassroom.org.
Contact: Meghan Amoroso
SOURCE Breakfast in the Classroom