Nationally, Nebraska is falling behind almost every other state in leveraging the school breakfast program to help students succeed. Nebraska was most recently ranked 49 out of 51 on the number of free and reduced price-eligible students participating in the school breakfast program. Only 39 of every 100 eligible students participating in the school lunch programs also received school breakfast.
Clearly, we can do better.
Decades of research supporting the importance of breakfast for young children have shown links to academic, cognitive, health, mental health, psychosocial, and behavioral outcomes.
We know that although many are eligible for it, most of the children who come from families who may need it the most are not starting the day off right with a nutritious breakfast.
Voices for Children supports LB 834 because it provides for an expanded approach to improving health and nutrition for more of Nebraska’s children so that they are better prepared as students. We believe that academic performance is inseparable from other aspects of a child’s life and it is important to ensure that we are maximizing available resources proven to help children succeed.
LB 834 is intended to provide funds for any real financial barriers related to serving alternative breakfast models – such as trash cans or additional equipment – as well as to provide an incentive for schools to switch to alternative models. This bill is the first step in removing the barriers that prevent students from receiving the nutritious breakfast that they need to reach their full potential as students. We believe that this bill would allow greater flexibility in meeting the various needs of Nebraska’s children, while also providing our schools with the additional resources that are necessary to best serve their students.