March 11, 2016
Reporter: Kirsten Sanchez
Source: WTNH News 8
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecticut state leaders gathered in Hartford today to celebrate a statewide program to end hunger.
Federal, state, and local leaders met at Parkville School in Hartford to mark the 50th anniversary of the national School Breakfast Program.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell, and USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe joined students and staff to talk about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast and its relationship to student performance. They were accompanied by representatives from End Hunger Connecticut!, a statewide anti-hunger organization.
“School nutrition programs are a critical first step in ensuring young minds have what they need to grow,” Lt. Gov. Wyman said. “Connecticut’s future depends on what we do now-working together on behalf of students who are our next-generation workforce is a priority. I applaud the commitment of all our partners in these efforts.”
The national School Breakfast Program is a USDA meal program that provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost, or free breakfasts to children each school day. The program was established under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to ensure that schoolchildren have access to a well-balanced meal every morning that class is in session.
Research has shown that hunger can distract students from learning, and students who eat breakfast benefit nutritionally and educationally. Offering a nutritious breakfast at school improves student performance, behavior, attendance, and comprehension in the classroom. Busy parents also benefit from the program because their children receive a healthy, balanced, and affordable meal at school.
A partnership formed in 2009 with the State Department of Education, the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut, End Hunger Connecticut!, the New England Dairy and Food Council, and Action for Healthy Kids established the Connecticut School Breakfast Expansion Team to increase participation and spread the program to more schools. This week, the State Department of Education is sending a memo to districts that are not participating in the School Breakfast Program strongly urging them to serve breakfast.
In 2015, 81 percent of schools in Connecticut participated, and 284 schools have added a breakfast program since the team was formed for a total of 885 schools statewide.
School Breakfast Programs in Connecticut operate as meal reimbursement programs. Reimbursements come in the form of cash payments to districts and are provided according to the number of meals served.
End Hunger Connecticut! (EHC!) is a statewide anti-hunger organization and serves as a comprehensive anti-hunger resource for community organizations, legislators, and low-income families.