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NY Missing Out on School Breakfasts - and Federal Funds

December 11, 2006

New York, NY - New York ranks 40th when it comes to providing low-income students with free or reduced-priced breakfasts, according to a new report from the Food Research and Action Committee (FRAC). FRAC's Lynn Parker says not only are schoolchildren missing out on an important meal, but the state economy is not getting the federal funds available.

"If those school districts don't take advantage of those resources, that means those resources are not being spent in the state and turned around in the local economy."

Parker cites multiple benefits to breakfast at school: it can lower obesity rates, boost academic performance and is better than the alternative of, as she puts it, "stopping at a little convenience store on the way to school and grabbing some candies rather than getting a nutritious meal that stays with them throughout the whole morning."

Parker was surprised New York scored so low because it's a large state with a lot of resources.

"One would expect a state like New York to being doing a lot better, in part because it has a large number of low-income children throughout the state who could benefit from the program."

She believes most families just aren't aware that breakfast can be provided at school. FRAC found that New York could be availing itself of enough money for an additional 250,000 school breakfasts totaling $54 million. The report can be found at www.frac.org/pdf/2006_SBP.pdf.

Michael Clifford/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NY