Hartford and Windsor, CT (PRWEB) October 24, 2013
End Hunger Connecticut!, in partnership with Share Our Strength on the Connecticut No Kid Hungry campaign, are working to end childhood hunger in Connecticut. The Campaign joined by Governor Dannel P. Malloy held a press conference today at John F. Kennedy School in Windsor to highlight the importance of school breakfast programs for Connecticut students and the need to grow the program in the state.
“We are investing millions to turnaround low-performing schools, enhance access to high-quality preschool, expand successful school models, and ensure that our schools are home to the best teachers and administrators. But children who aren’t getting enough to eat cannot focus on learning,” said Governor Malloy. “We have to address all of the barriers to success – and that includes making certain Connecticut students have healthy, nutritious meals to support their brain development and growth.”
In addition to calling for increased participation in the federally-funded school breakfast program, today’s event recognized the nearly 100% increase in participation that the John F. Kennedy School has experienced since launching the 2013-2014 school year with a “Breakfast in the Classroom” program. “Having a healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast is an essential component of school readiness.” Dr. Jeffrey A. Villar, Superintendent of Windsor Public Schools, said. “As Superintendent of the Windsor Public Schools, I am very pleased that we have been able to provide our students with a healthy breakfast before they start their busy school day.”
While Connecticut is among one of the wealthiest states in the U.S., hunger is a challenge facing many Connecticut children and their families. Currently, 19% of Connecticut children (approximately 156,000) live in food insecure homes.
“In order for students to reach their full academic potential, we should seek to create environments that fully support their success. To support this endeavor, this means we must make a concerted effort to reduce hunger and provide important nutrition programs, such as school breakfast, that will better enable our students to focus on learning,” said State Department of Education Stefan Pryor.
72.3% of Connecticut schools (789) are offering the federally-funded school breakfast program as of September 2013; however, Connecticut still ranks last in the nation for the number of schools offering the school breakfast program, a position it has held for the past eight consecutive years. Further, there are 50 severe need schools in Connecticut that do not participate in the federal school breakfast program. It is estimated that Connecticut leaves nearly $22M dollars on the table in Washington that could be used to fund local school breakfast programs.
A 2013 Deloitte study commissioned by Share Our Strength found that, on average, students who eat school breakfast have been shown to achieve 17.5% higher scores on standardized math tests and attend 1.5 more days of school per year. Research also shows students who attend class more regularly are 20% more likely to graduate from high school.
“Studies continue to show that a nutritious breakfast is vital for students to begin the day ready to learn,” Lucy Nolan, Executive Director, End Hunger Connecticut!, said. “The Breakfast in the Classroom delivery model, like what the Kennedy School has implemented, is considered best in class across the nation because it creates the most access to school breakfast for the most students possible. As members of the Connecticut Breakfast Expansion Team, we work with districts at no cost to them to develop implementation plans that work for their schools and that make school breakfast part of the school day as Windsor has. We encourage the schools that are not currently participating in School Breakfast to contact the CT Breakfast Expansion Team to get started.”
Today’s event was part of an ongoing and successful collaboration between the Connecticut No Kid Hungry campaign, Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, and the Connecticut Breakfast Expansion Team to improve Connecticut’s ranking for school breakfast program participation and increase student participation in schools already offering the program by increasing accessibility by serving after the bell rings and/or in the classroom. In spring 2013, Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor spearheaded a survey of Connecticut schools to identify barriers to implementing school breakfast programs. This data is being used to guide further outreach efforts.
To establish or grow your School Breakfast Program, please contact the Connecticut Breakfast Expansion Team at 860-807-5552 or jackie.schipke(at)ct(dot)gov.
About End Hunger Connecticut!
End Hunger Connecticut! is a statewide anti-hunger and food security organization. By focusing on advocacy, outreach, education and research, EHC! serves as a comprehensive anti-hunger resource for community organizations, legislators, and low-income families. To learn more, visit: http://www.endhungerct.org.