Support in N.J. for providing breakfast during school day

It’s not easy in an already jam-packed school day, but a new survey finds more schools in New Jersey are taking time to serve breakfast to hungry students.

Only about 30 percent of schools in the Garden State participate in the federal school breakfast program. Most of those that do serve the meal before the start of classes because they’ve been worried about cleanup and

interfering with classroom instruction.

But a survey shows the majority of the districts that provide breakfast in classrooms after school begins have dealt with those challenges, according to Cecilia Zalkind, the executive director of Advocates for Children of New

Jersey.

“We¹ve talked to teachers, we’ve seen it in the survey, where teachers make it part of the lesson,” she says. “It’s quick. The food is there. Kids serve it. It¹s cleaned up very quickly.”

Zalkind says a school breakfast reduces childhood hunger and increases student participation so they can succeed in school.

Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, says school breakfast programs should be as accessible as possible.

“Hunger is an increasing problem in this state as well as in many others, and federal feeding programs are the first line of defense against hunger,” LaTourette said. “We cannot count on the fact that families have breakfast to feed kids at home.”

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