Wednesday, August 08, 2007

NYCCAH Holds Press Conference to Bring Awareness to NYC's Trailing School Breakfast Participation

The Coalition Against Hunger held a press conference yesterday at City Hall to bring attention to the low rate of school breakfast participation in New York City. The Coalition brought together leading elected officials and anti-hunger advocates to comment on a new national study that finds that New York City trails virtually every other large city in the nation in school breakfast participation, even with one in five New York City children living in food insecure homes.

The study by national anti-hunger group, the Food Research and Action Center, found that New York has the second lowest participation rate out of 23 large American cities. Breakfast participation has increased by six million meals over the last three and a half years owing largely to the Bloomberg administration's adoption of universal school breakfast, as well as experimenting in allowing children to eat breakfast in their classrooms.

Even so, 80% of low income City public school students fail to receive school breakfasts, and only 29% obtain school lunches as opposed to 98% in Portland, Oregon, 94% in Newark, and 64% in Boston. Higher participation rates were linked to districts where school breakfast was made more available in the classroom, unlike New York where students have to go to a separate lunchroom to eat. Joel Berg, executive director of NYCCAH, called on the city to increase participation by allowing breakfast to be served in the classrooms. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), State Senator Carl Kruger, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, City Councilman Eric Gioia, and City Councilman David Weprin joined Berg in calling for increased efforts to boost school meals participation.

The conference was covered by the New York Times, New York Post, WNYC, NY1, News12 Brooklyn and Bronx, El Diario, DailyNews1, DailyNews2, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and the Staten Island Advance.

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