Just three days into the 2018 legislative session, the Washington State House of Representatives passed their first bill – and it’s a big win for kids. HB 1508 – WA Kids Ready To learn will make it easier for students across Washington to start their day with a healthy breakfast after the bell.
United Way is thrilled that passing Breakfast After the Bell is a priority for both the House and Senate this session. We’ve been leading advocacy efforts on Breakfast After the Bell for five years because we believe this is a simple solution to a big problem. It helps address student hunger and increases family financial stability by making breakfast part of the school day – just like lunch.
One in six kids struggles with hunger. The National School Breakfast and Lunch programs are designed to reduce hunger and provide a safety net for families – but too many local students miss you out. Washington ranks 45th in the nation in the number of low income kids who eat school breakfast. This means we have hungry kids in our classrooms and schools districts miss out on millions of dollars in reimbursements from the federal government.
Students who eat school breakfast are more focused, have fewer absences and better test scores. We like to say they have breakfast brains.
Kids often miss out on school breakfast because of barriers like transportation, social stigma, or overcrowded cafeterias. Breakfast After The Bell makes it easy for kids to access breakfast and start their day ready to learn. Our Fuel Your Future Team has seen first-hand the benefits of Breakfast After The Bell. We’ve teamed up with local School Districts to pilot Breakfast After The Bell programs. At Auburn High 350 additional students are eating each day. And in Seattle, thanks to a partnership with IOU Local 609 and Nutrition Services, hundreds of kids have access to breakfast after the bell. Now we want to make this a reality for thousands of students in high-need schools across WA.
Let’s make this the year that Washington is a leader in making sure No Kid is Hungry.