Monday, November 03, 2008

Mayor Bloomberg Expands In-Classroom Breakfasts in Effort to Combat Economic Insecurity

On October 30, Mayor Bloomberg announced 18 new initiatives to help New Yorkers endure economic hard times. New measures include expanding the in-classroom free breakfast program, allocating $1.3 million in funds for frozen vegetables at food pantries and extending further assistance to seniors applying for food stamps.

The in-classroom breakfast program acts as a direct defense against child hunger by making free breakfasts available to students in their first period classrooms. In traditional school breakfast programs, students receiving free meals are forced to eat in a separate room, thus increasing the stigma associated with receiving free meals. The new initiative will expand the in-classroom breakfast program to 300 more schools in addition to the 50 City schools currently serving in-classroom breakfasts. “This is a major advance that will be a model for the whole country. We know breakfast improves educational performance so in-classroom breakfasts are both good hunger and good education policy” said NYCCAH Executive Joel Berg.

These anti-hunger initiatives were accompanied by the Bloomberg administration’s promise of new jobs in the construction and “green” sectors as well as job placement assistance for those recently laid off from financial service jobs. The administration will also raise funds for the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, which intervenes on behalf of New Yorkers facing foreclosure, and assists them in regaining financial stability.

Mayor Bloomberg emphasized the importance of existing city agencies in carrying out the proposed initiatives, stating that the creation of new spending programs would be irresponsible in the midst of economic downturn. “City agencies can do what these initiatives accomplish—make swift and focused efforts to help New Yorkers help themselves,” said Bloomberg.

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