The Most Important Meal of the Day Just Got Better for Texas Students & Schools

Rachel Cooper

As schools across the country commemorate National School Breakfast Week, Texas public schools are actively working to provide school breakfast to more students in need thanks to a new law passed in 2013.

Breakfast for all is a win-win for students and schools. Studies show that students who are well fed participate more in class and earn higher grades, and because schools are reimbursed based on the number of meals served, higher student participation means more money for the program. This week, we released “Making Breakfast Big in Texas,” a resource for anyone interested in ways that Texas schools can serve breakfast to all their students while maximizing revenue.

“In Texas, one in five children is at risk of going hungry, and serving breakfast at school means more children can enjoy a healthy meal and be ready to learn, and parents who are struggling to make ends meet don’t have to worry that their child is going hungry until lunchtime,” said Rachel Cooper, senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. “Serving breakfast is a win-win for everyone.”

A coalition of food and nutrition advocacy groups, including CPPP, the Texas Food Bank Network and Children at Risk, worked with lawmakers during the 2013 legislative session to pass the breakfast expansion bill. Senate Bill 376, authored by state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., gives schools with more than 80 percent of students who qualify for free and reduce priced lunch the opportunity to serve free breakfast to every student every day.  Groups are now working to answer questions and ensure school districts and administrators get the most out of the new law. “The implementation of SB 376 is essential in closing the gap of hungry children,” said Dr. Robert Sanborn, CEO of Children at Risk.

“Expanding school breakfast participation in Texas schools is a proven tool to reduce the risk of hunger and boost academic outcomes for hundreds of thousands of low-income students,” said Celia Cole, CEO of the Texas Food Bank Network. “We encourage every Texas school to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure every Texas child starts the school day nourished and ready to learn.”

The new law takes effect this fall. Visit forabettertexas.org/breakfastforall for more resources.

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