BUILDING A BETTER TOMORROW
Second Harvest Heartland’s child hunger initiative—led by major public and private partners, and local communities—is designed to ensure healthy child development through reliable access to nutritious food. This effort levels the playing field for all Minnesota’s children, building a healthy, prosperous future for our state.
This work includes, among other components, efforts to encourage state policy initiatives designed to strengthen access to school breakfast for all children across Minnesota.
Healthy child development is the foundation for community and economic development and the basis of our future prosperity as a state. Ensuring all children have the healthy food they need, regardless of where they live or their family circumstances, reflects an important investment in our shared future.
The truth is that more than one out of every 10 Minnesota students comes to school from a household that does not always have enough money to buy needed food—causing children to experience persistent, chronic physical and mental stress, activating their stress response systems, disrupting their brain development, and affecting other organs. It also increases the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment over a child’s lifetime.
Part of the way we can work to create a healthy future for the next generation is through increasing availability of free school breakfast for Minnesota’s learners.
On average, children who eat breakfast have higher nutrient intakes than children who do not eat breakfast
Children who eat breakfast on a daily basis are less likely to become overweight
Data shows that eating school breakfast prevents weight gain
Nationwide studies show that breakfast has a positive effect on test scores, grades, school attendance and tardiness rates
For students in greater Minnesota, reducing barriers to school breakfasts is an important way of fostering healthy cognitive and physical development
Minnesota’s public and community initiatives supporting children’s health, such as school breakfast, serve more than 300,000 children each year. Because the current structure of the school breakfast program limits participation, not all students are able to benefit from this important resource. We can continue to innovate through the Breakfast After the Bell program to address this issue.
The proposed legislation includes:
Incentives such as meal reimbursements for school districts to either establish or expand new or existing Breakfast After the Bell programs
Support to target areas of the state where school breakfast programs can go further and reach all children in a district
Adoption and/or expansion of Breakfast After the Bell best practices as part of new and existing programs, including Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab and Go, and Second Chance Breakfast
The child hunger initiative partners include Second Harvest Heartland, Boston Consulting Group, Cargill, Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, General Mills, Minnesota Milk Producers, Minnesota School Nutrition Association, and Youthprise.
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Hunger continues to be a prevalent and pervasive issue in our area, but we believe no one should go hungry. Start with a few dollars, a few pounds of food or a few hours volunteering. That's all it takes to put your desire to make a difference to work. Choose what works for you, depending on your expertise, talents, interests and resources. Get Involved.