The Most Important Meal of the Day

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” 11-year-old Kyle told us.

He knows that missing breakfast would leave him hungry until his 11:05 am school lunch. That’s why providing breakfast at schools is so important.

March 7th through 11th is National School Breakfast Week, a time to pay special attention to Kyle and all the children who count on getting that important meal at school.

New Jersey has expanded its school breakfast programs over the past few years and, according to a February Food Research and Action Center report, the state now feeds 55.8 percent of kids eligible. That still leaves 44 percent of eligible children without school breakfast.

Children at the Boys & Girls Club in Hoboken – one of our Kids Cafes – shared how they feel when they don’t have breakfast.

Eight-year-old Gianessa said that without breakfast her “stomach will be growling” and “I can’t think straight.”

That’s echoed by Kimora.

“My stomach starts growling and it says ‘feed me,’” the 7-year-old said. She eats breakfast at school almost every day, having cereal or waffles with fruit.

Neftali knows that when he doesn’t eat breakfast, he has trouble focusing in school. The 11-year-old said he has missed the meal before, causing him to “feel hungry” all day.

While New Jersey is ranked 23rd in the U.S. for providing breakfast at schools, “there’s still so much more to do,” our Advocacy Director Diane Riley said.

It’s about more than just serving food; an important detail to consider is when students receive their breakfast.

“We know that participation goes way up when breakfast is served ‘after the bell,’” Riley said. Before the bell, buses may not have arrived and parents may be strained for time.

“I am confident that as more schools adopt this and other innovative methods, we can feed more kids.”