Starting the day with School Breakfast ensures that children have the nutrition they need to learn and thrive

The School Breakfast Program is a federal program that provides nutritionally balanced breakfasts to low-income children at school for free or at a reduced price. Participation in school breakfast not only helps families stretch their food budget, it improves student health and academic performance.

  • Providing breakfast to students at school improves their concentration, alertness, and comprehension
  • Students who eat breakfast at school score higher on vocabulary and reading tests than those who don’t eat breakfast
  • Low-income students who eat school breakfast are more likely to consume an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals than those who not eat breakfast at school
  • Access to school breakfast decreases the likelihood of skipped meals among children at risk of food insecurity

The School Breakfast Program continues to grow in Montana, but remains underutilized. Only 1 in 4 students ate breakfast on average each day in School Year 2017-2018. Here at MFBN, we work to increase participation by analyzing and sharing participation data at the state and school levels. Our annual School Breakfast Report helps schools assess their programs and highlights best practices, such as alternative serving models, which include Breakfast in the Classroom, Breakfast After the Bell, or Grab ‘N’ Go).

Key Finding for School Year 2017-2018:

  • 6,075,948 meals served at K-12 schools through the School Breakfast Program, including 4,669,283 Free/Reduced Price Meals to low-income children.
  • 91% of Montana schools that offer the National School Lunch Program also participate in the School Breakfast Program, of which 36% now offer an alternative breakfast model.
  • 158 schools participated in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Through CEP nearly 27,000 students had access to free breakfast and lunch, without the need for applications.
  • 46% of students at K-12 schools offering the School Breakfast Program in Montana are enrolled in Free/Reduced Price meals.
  • 1 in 4 students at schools offering school breakfast participate in the program daily. That means an average 34,721 students at K-12 schools eat breakfast every day.

Beyond our annual report, MFBN advocates for policies at the state and federal levels that support access to school breakfast, such as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). MFBN has also provided mini-grant funding to schools to help improve their breakfast programs. Here at MFBN, we will continue to find ways to help with the expansion of school breakfast meals, a vital resource for families struggling to put food on the table.

For more information about MFBN’s work to increase access to School Breakfast in Montana contact Elisha Buchholz, Public Policy Coordinator

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