The most important meal of the day: Improving access to school breakfast in Clifton
It’s 8:30am and the students at School #17 in Clifton are assembling in the gym, getting ready to begin their school day. But, first…breakfast! Each student can go through the grab and go line in the gym, pick up a breakfast and bring it to their classroom. For students who come in late, a cafeteria worker is located at the entrance of the school with a small cart containing milk, fruit and other “on the go” breakfast items.
The New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition has been working with school administrators in Clifton to implement a breakfast after the bell program. The Principal at School #17 agreed to pilot breakfast after the bell at her school to ensure that each child could start their day with a healthy meal and be better prepared to learn. She also knows that breakfast after the bell fends off hunger for many children who live in low-income households that may struggle to put food on the table.
Since piloting breakfast after the bell, participation is up to over 40% at School #17. But, there is much more work to be done in Clifton. According to a recent school breakfast report, 57% of the over 6,000 students in the Clifton school district are eligible for free and reduced school breakfast. However, as of April 2017, only 17% were participating in the program.
The New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition will continue our work in Clifton to expand breakfast after the bell to two additional schools in the fall, with the goal of rolling it out districtwide in the 2018-2019 school year, so that more children will have access to a nutritious breakfast to learn and grow to their full potential.
About the Grantee
The mission of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition (NJAHC) is to end hunger in NJ through education, advocacy and activism. NJAHC educates the public and decision-makers about hunger — its causes, its solutions. We mobilize diverse organizations to combat hunger. We push for sweeping changes to ensure that every single New Jersey resident has healthy food to eat — every single day.