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More Free/Reduced Lunch Eligible Kids Taking Advantage of School Breakfast Program

Two groups teaming up to make sure children in need get to eat before hitting the books.
More children who qualify for the free or reduced price lunch program are taking advantage of the school breakfast program, says a new study.

The Food Research Action Center, one of the nation's preeminent authorities on hunger, food insecurity and poverty, has released its School Breakfast Scorecard for the 2011-12 school year.

Results of the study show Arkansas has made significant improvement-- up 4.3 percent over last year-- in the number of eligible children who are getting breakfast at school each morning.
 
Teachers have long recognized that children who are hungry have difficulty learning. Going without breakfast has profound negative consequences for the academic, cognitive and mental health of our children. School breakfast improves student behavior and academic performance, while reducing absenteeism, tardiness, and trips to the school nurse. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance in conjunction with Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Arkansas Campaign, the Governor's Office, Mid West Dairy, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the Arkansas Department of Education and other state partners have been expanding outreach efforts to make alternative breakfast models a part of the school day, strategies FRAC cites as critical in increasing breakfast participation.  
 
"The No Kid Hungry Arkansas Campaign has been working to knock down barriers to participation in school breakfast programs and introduce alternative breakfast models such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab&Go and Second Chance Breakfast that are making it easier for all children to get a healthy, nutritious breakfast," said Kathy Webb, executive director of the Alliance. According to the FRAC study, 55 percent of Arkansas children who are participating in the school lunch program are also participating in the school breakfast program. The No Kid Hungry Arkansas Campaign is committed to closing the participation gap so all Arkansas children get a nutritious breakfast at school.
 
Anyone interested in considering an alternative breakfast models for their school or school district should contact Vivian Nicholson, Breakfast Program Director, at vnicholson@arhungeralliance.org or call (501) 399-9999.
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