For Immediate Release: April 2, 2018
Contact: Magen Allen Mallen@hungerfreeamerica.org, (212) 825-0028, ext. 212
New York State Budget to Include School Breakfast Expansion Statewide
Advocates Thank Governor and Legislature for “Historic Progress”
The New York State budget just approved by the Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo funds and mandates a large-scale expansion of school breakfast participation state-wide, thereby enacting a long-term goal of anti-hunger advocates.
Currently, more than 700,000 children statewide live in households that can’t always afford enough food, according to federal data analyzed by Hunger Free America. However, only about half the state’s children who currently receive federally-subsidized school lunches also receive school breakfasts. This is due to stigma and logistical issues with the way school breakfasts are currently made available.
The state’s new breakfast law and funding are expected to dramatically increase school breakfast participation by ensuring that all public schools at which 70% or more of the children are eligible for subsidized meals will receive “Breakfast after the Bell,” usually in their first period classroom.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has already moved to provide "Breakfast after the Bell" in all elementary schools, so the largest impact in the city would be to expand such efforts to middle and high schools. The new state efforts would also expand breakfast participation upstate and in suburbs, enabling schools to serve more fresh products produced in New York State, and would ban “lunch shaming,” the process through which children are asked to account for unpaid meal bills owed by their parents.
“This is a historic victory for the anti-hunger movement, and we greatly thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for proposing these vital efforts and the Legislature for approving them,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide direct service and advocacy organization based in New York City. Continued Berg, “Mountains of data prove that increasing breakfast participation not only slashes child hunger, but it also boosts child health and improves educational performance. To be schooled, you must be fueled. To be well read, you must be well-fed. We hope the state takes further steps to end child hunger as a down payment on ending all hunger.”