Forging fresh ways to serve school breakfast
Serving breakfast during the school day, just like lunch, helps ensure all students have a nutrition start to their school day. Breakfast after the bell is now required in all high-poverty New Jersey school. The new law requires schools with at least 70 percent low-income students to serve breakast after the bell, beginning no later than Sept. 2019. In 2021, the state approved a 10-cent per meal supplement to federal reimbursements for breakfasts served after the bell.
What is breakfast after the bell?
When breakfast is served during the school day, just like lunch, student participation skyrockets. Breakfast after the bell is typically served during the first few minutes of the school day, usually in the classroom, although other methods can be effective. Serving breakfast before school is ineffective simply because most children have not yet arrived. Breakfast after the bell eliminates stigma and brings millions more into our schools to feed hungry students, maximizing our investment in public education.
The state of School Breakfast in New Jersey
After making strong progress for several years, New Jersey has lost ground on ensuring all students start their day with a nutritious meal. The state slipped to 25th nationally in the 2019-20 school year, according to the Food Research & Action Center. In 2018, NJ ranked 18th. This drop in school breakfast service was pre-pandemic, making it even more concerning. HFNJ is working with state leaders to bolster breakfast after the bell in communities across the state.
New Jersey's School Breakfast Success Story
Districts across the state have proven that breakfast after the bell is do-able and results in more students starting their day with healthy nutrition, while districts reap millions more in federal dollars to feed hungry kids.