ACNJ Reports School Breakfast Participation Dip

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After several years of double-digit increases in school breakfast participation, Advocates for Children of New Jersey are reporting that fewer New Jersey children ate breakfast at school in April 2017 compared to the year before.

View report and district-level data.

State data showed a 2 percent decrease in participation from April 2016 to April 2017, the report found. This is the first decrease since the 2011 launch of the campaign, which ACNJ co-leads.  That said, participation is up 73 percent since 2010 – the year before the launch of the New Jersey Food for Thought Campaign.

ACNJ released the 7th Annual NJ School Breakfast Report in partnership with the Food for Thought Campaign, which has helped drive substantial increases in school breakfast participation.

School breakfast participation increased in New Jersey as more schools modified their delivery system – moving to breakfast after the bell – usually in the classroom during the first few minutes of the day. This method of service significantly increased participation.

The six-year increase in breakfast participation has resulted in a doubling of federal dollars flowing to New Jersey school districts to feed hungry children, rising to an anticipated $105 million this fiscal year. Districts are reimbursed for each meal served, so as more children eat, more federal dollars are claimed.

ACNJ also released local data for all districts that have at least 20 percent or more eligible students. These districts are required by state law to serve breakfast. Districts with low participation are staffing their breakfast programs, but reaching a fraction of children who could benefit because the meal is being served before most students arrive,

 The report also spotlights ‘Breakfast Champs’ the top 20 high-poverty schools which, together, are serving an average of 82 percent of their low-income students.  In addition, it identifies 46 high-poverty districts that are serving 30 percent or fewer of their qualified students.

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