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Bridging the Gap:

Reaching Underserved Students
with Breakfast After the Bell

2020 NEW YORK STATE
SCHOOL BREAKFAST REPORT

OVERVIEW

Hunger affects one in six children in New York State.*

A robust body of research supports what educators and school officials see every day: hunger has a profoundly negative impact on children’s physical, emotional and mental development.

The federally funded School Breakfast Program helps schools ensure no child starts the school day hungry. A nutritious school breakfast boosts students’ ability to learn effectively; supports positive social, emotional, and behavioral development; and improves students’ health and general well-being.

This report contains the results of an analysis of New York State school breakfast participation in public schools during the 2018-2019 school year. On average, one in four students ate free or reduced-price breakfast during that year. While that is an increase from the previous year, the program continues to be underutilized. The data also revealed two areas of greatest unmet need: middle and high (secondary) schools and 15 high-need school districts.

New school breakfast legislation has been enacted to help increase breakfast access in high-need districts, but its benefits are, for the most part, yet to be seen.

Included in this report are strategies to more effectively reach underserved student populations, which in turn will help schools to claim millions of dollars in federal funding lost due to low school breakfast participation.

*See report for references.