Thursday, March 31, 2011

Breakfast in the Classroom

Fulfilling our hunger-relief mission stretches beyond our warehouse on the Southwest Side. One of the chief means for alleviating hunger is through federally funded nutrition programs. The Greater Chicago Food Depository, and the people we serve, must tap all of the resources available if we are to provide food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. Schools are a key part of the frontline against child hunger. That's why we applaud Chicago Public Schools and the Board of Education for enacting Breakfast in the Classroom for all Chicago elementary schools in January.

Children represent 37 percent of the people served annually by the Food Depository, or 250,000 children under the age of 18. Research shows that proper nutrition and academic performance are inextricably linked. In a recent study conducted by the Food Depository, 45 percent of children missed a main meal in their last 24 hours.

Illinois' school breakfast participation rate is 46th in the nation, according to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Chicago is ranked 22nd (out of 29 urban school districts) in school breakfast participation; Chicago ranked dead last in school breakfast participation until CPS offered Breakfast in the Classroom. FRAC statistics show that CPS served breakfast to an additional 32,000 low-income students per day as it increased the number of schools participating in Breakfast in the Classroom to 182 in the 2009-2010 school year. Further, in this time of fiscal uncertainty at the city and state level, school breakfast costs are reimbursed by the federal government.

Thank you to CPS for helping children have the fuel they need to learn.

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