Solution: Feed Children at School
Many low-income families throughout the state simply do not have enough money to buy basic foods like milk, cereal, or fresh fruit. As a result, too many children don't get breakfast at home, and are forced to come to school hungry. These students are jittery and agitated, or tired and lethargic. They are not able to begin the school day with attentive and eager minds.
Children without adequate food get sick more often than their peers, are more likely to be hospitalized, and have a higher rate of chronic illness.
Hunger also impacts learning. Studies sponsored by Project Bread have shown that increasing school breakfast participation is associated with improved nutrition, school attendance, emotional functioning, math grades, and MCAS scores.
In addition, hunger can lead to obesity when poor families must rely on readily available, inexpensive, high calorie foods that are energy dense but nutrient sparse. Obesity among children has been shown to lead to serious health issues with a long-term impact, including cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and asthma.
School is a critical place for hungry children to receive good nutrition because there is a normal, non-stigmatizing system in place that provides 50 percent of a child’s nutrients and calories for the day.
To maximize the benefit of school meals, Project Bread works on a variety of initiatives to improve the quality of school breakfast and lunch in low-income communities.