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Report: More Nevada Schools Offering Breakfast

PHOTO: A new report finds more schools in Nevada are participating in the School Breakfast Program, but many students who are eligible are still not benefiting from the federal program. Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
PHOTO: A new report finds more schools in Nevada are participating in the School Breakfast Program, but many students who are eligible are still not benefiting from the federal program. Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
February 10, 2015

RENO, Nev. - Nevada schools are not showing improvement in the number of lower-income children eating breakfast at school, although more schools are serving a morning meal.

New research from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) indicates more than 530 schools were part of the School Breakfast Program during the last school year, and while that number is up five percent from the previous year, fewer children overall were served.

Jocelyn Lantrip, director of marketing at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, says research shows eating breakfast is critical for student learning.

"Children who are hungry can't learn," she says. "It's so important for children to get the nutrition they need so they can concentrate, and be ready to learn and do well in school."

Lantrip says more than half of all Nevada students qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded program. The states which had the best results were those with schools that serve breakfast in the classroom instead of only in the cafeteria.

Nationally, the report shows more progress. During the last school year, more than 11 million low-income children ate a healthy morning meal each day - an increase of 320,000 students. FRAC President Jim Weill says they compare the lunch and breakfast numbers to gauge how much progress the breakfast programs are making, and are seeing steady gains.

"In the 2013-2014 school year, there were 53 low-income kids eating breakfast for every 100 eating lunch," says Weill. "That was up by 10 kids per 100 over a decade. So we're making real progress, year after year."

However, Weill adds 48 states still have not made FRAC's goal of reaching at least 70 low-income children with breakfast at school for every 100 in the free lunch program. Nevada is one of those states falling short - and is missing out on more than $10 million in federal School Breakfast Program funding as a result.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV