Washington, D.C. Among Top in U.S. for School Breakfast Participation
Participation Increasing Nationally as More Low-Income Students Start the Day with Breakfast
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara McGovern, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-640-1089
Washington, D.C. – February 10, 2015 – The District of Columbia continues to be at the top of list when looking at the city’s ability to serve school breakfast to low-income children compared to states across the country, according to the annual national school breakfast report released today by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).
The School Breakfast Scorecard (pdf) measures the success of the School Breakfast Program at the national and state levels, including the District of Columbia. The FRAC report finds that 70 low-income children in Washington, D.C. ate school breakfast on an average day for every 100 that received free or reduced-price lunch during the 2013 – 2014 school year, placing D.C. third in the nation for feeding hungry children.
“More children are eating school breakfast. That’s great news for children in Washington, D.C., and the pace of progress should – and must – be sustained and accelerated,” said Alex Ashbrook, Director of D.C. Hunger Solutions. “Let’s make it a goal to be number one in the nation for feeding hungry children. That would mean less hunger in the nation’s capital and better health and educational outcomes for children.”
Washington, D.C. also far outstripped the national average. Nationally, 53 low-income children ate school breakfast for every 100 who also ate school lunch, an increase from the previous school year’s ratio of 52:100 and a large jump from the 43:100 ratio of a decade earlier.
The report finds that, on an average school day in 2013-2014, 31,301 low-income children in Washington, D.C. participated in school breakfast, an increase from the previous year. Part of this success is due to the widespread adoption of Community Eligibility, which allows high-poverty schools to offer free meals, and the continued positive impact of the D.C. Healthy Schools Act which required high-poverty schools to offer breakfast in the classroom or other alternative serving methods. Programs like breakfast in the classroom, or “grab and go” where children can take meals from carts or kiosks to then eat in the classroom are proven to lead to higher participation rates.
“Washington, D.C. is a leader in school breakfast. This success should be celebrated, but it also shows us that we can continue to grow participation so every child in D.C. starts the day with breakfast,” said Ashbrook.
About the report: The full report, School Breakfast Scorecard (pdf), measures the reach of the School Breakfast Program nationally and in the states. FRAC compares the number of schools and low-income children that participate in breakfast to those that participate in the National School Lunch Program. FRAC also sets a participation goal of reaching 70 low-income children with breakfast for every 100 receiving lunch as a way to gauge state progress and the costs of underparticipation in the program.