Free breakfasts increase academic achievement

By Bailey Monsees
Staff Writer
the Roundtable
Northern High School

This story appeared originally in the Roundtable, the school newspaper of Northern High School which has partnered with the Durham VOICE.

In September, Governor Beverly Perdue announced that 28 schools throughout North Carolina would participate in a new, federally funded school breakfast program titled “No Kids Hungry.”

While Northern is not participating at this time, other local schools such as Lakewood Elementary have already adopted this program.

No Kids Hungry has partnered with fellow local nonprofit organizations Share Our Strength and NC Serves. The aim of this program is to fight childhood hunger by encouraging students to eat breakfast provided through their schools.

“This is a good idea because kids shouldn’t have to go hungry if they can’t afford to buy food,” said freshman Daniel Cole.

More than one in four children in North Carolina is threatened by hunger, yet of the 640,000 students who receive free or reduced-price lunch, fewer than half actually eat the breakfast that is also provided free of charge.

“Some students might be embarrassed to get free breakfast because other kids might make fun of them,” said senior Brittany Lassiter.

There are many reasons, ranging from late buses to embarrassment, that cause students not to enjoy free or reduced breakfast. No Kids Hungry is working hard to combat these problems by giving free breakfast to all students who qualify and making breakfast more accessible.

The breakfast provided by No Kids Hungry will consist of healthy choices of milk or juice as well as cereal, toast or fruit. It is already being distributed throughout schools and in many classrooms.

“It is proven that a good breakfast helps you perform better,” said social worker Katrina Nesmith.

As a result, many think that with free breakfasts, test scores and overall grades will improve.

No Kids Hungry is still in the pilot stage of implementation and will not be introduced to Northern until after the first year of the program.