Hunger Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Expand School Breakfast
LAMPa and ELCA World Hunger leaders in Pennsylvania signed a letter delivered to lawmakers today as part of a statewide coalition urging an additional $2 million to expand school breakfast participation through alternative delivery methods.
“Right now, 1 in 5 kids in Pennsylvania struggles with hunger. School breakfast is critical to ensure that kids get the basic nutrition they need, but too many kids who may need a school breakfast are missing out,” the letter states. Today, less than half of kids who qualify for in-school breakfast are actually receiving it. It doesn’t have to be that way. This is a solvable problem.”
LAMPa advocates have long been promoting school breakfast expansion — both with lawmakers and local school districts. Some, including policy council member the Rev. Bruce Osterhout, have successfully worked with districts to apply for grants and try new models that dramatically increase the number of students getting a healthy start to a day of learning. Osterhout, pastor of Zions Lutheran in Shoemakersville, was one of the signatories, on behalf of the Northern Berks Community Garden, as were The Revs. Theodore Cockley and Karl Runser, III, co-chairs of the Upper Susquehanna Synod ELCA World Hunger Task Force.
“When children consistently get the nutrition they need, they feel better, they learn more, and they grow up stronger,” the letter continues. “Research shows that kids who get school breakfast score better on standardized tests. Attendance rates improve. Fewer students spend precious class time at the nurse with stomach pangs or headaches. Behavior improves, leading to calmer classrooms and fewer trips to the principal’s office.”