WASHINGTON, April 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today marks a significant achievement in the fight to end childhood hunger in America: After two years in the making, one million more kids are now eating school breakfast thanks to No Kid Hungry and its partners, including education and nutrition professionals working on behalf of kids every day. This is a critical milestone toward ensuring kids have the food they need to focus during their school day, as participation in the national school breakfast program is at a record high.
Making breakfast part of the regular school day has a powerful effect on kids, and a healthy breakfast at school can make a lasting impact on kids' futures. Research shows that when kids consistently eat breakfast at school, attendance rates improve an average of 1.5 days more per school year, math test scores rise up to 17.5 percent, and they are 20 percent more likely to graduate.
"There's nothing negative about having a child that's not hungry, and who is very likely to pay attention and learn because they're not hungry," said Oscar Troncoso, principal and assistant superintendent at Anthony High School in El Paso, Texas. "I think it's just a big blessing for our community, for them to be able to be served breakfast every day."
Despite this tremendous accomplishment, too many kids are still starting the school day hungry. Millions of kids are opening their textbooks on an empty stomach, but hungry kids can't learn. Only about half of the 22 million kids who qualify for a free or reduced price school lunch are also receiving breakfast, even though they're eligible for both meals.
There are a number of reasons kids aren't getting school breakfasts, such as having to get to school early or feeling singled out going to the cafeteria while other classmates head to class. No Kid Hungry is working with a growing number of local and national leaders in school districts, cities and states across the country to make breakfast part of the regular school day and increase participation so all kids start their school day ready to learn. No Kid Hungry has achieved critical success in feeding kids breakfast in communities like New Orleans, Dallas, New York City, Los Angeles and many more. Since launching the campaign, No Kid Hungry has connected kids facing hunger to more than 460 million meals.
"The simple act of feeding a hungry child a healthy school breakfast can have a dramatic impact on their academic, health and economic futures," said Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength. "Adding one million more kids to the breakfast program is a huge milestone, but we need to continue our work to strengthen future generations."
No Kid Hungry's breakfast work is sponsored by Citi and Kellogg Company. For more information on how breakfast can impact a child's life, visit NoKidHungry.org/breakfast.
About NO KID HUNGRY
No child should go hungry in America, but 1 in 5 kids will face hunger this year. Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger today by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. When we all work together, we can make sure kids get the healthy food they need. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.