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USDA Food and Nutrition Service and Decatur City Schools celebrate "National School Breakfast Week"

It's National School Breakfast Week and USDA Food and Nutrition Service is encouraging healthy eating habits.

DECATUR, Ala. — A good breakfast can be a good jump-start to the day and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service wants to ensure students are getting a nutritious one to set them up for success.

I'm sure you've heard the term "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" and well it's true because it "breaks the fast" from overnight sleep. 

And that's why the USDA Food and Nutrition Service is encouraging and celebrating the importance for students to have that first meal of the day through "National School Breakfast Week." 

Stacy Dean, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, shares,  "we see test scores do better on the days the kids are eating, eating their meals…the food that we're providing through the school food program, often sourced from local farms, are meeting nutrition standards set up by the dietary guidelines. We know kids are getting the best through this program."

The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federally-assisted meal program that provides reimbursements to states to operate nonprofit school breakfast programs.

Jenny Newton, Child Nutrition Program Supervisor, for Decatur City School says, "we know that as educators, it's hard for students to learn if they're hungry. And so that's one of the biggest things that we try to do in the CNP program is make sure that we serve healthy, hearty meals. So when the students leave the cafeteria, they're focused on learning, not focused on the hunger in their stomachs."

SBP is administered by state education agencies that work with local school food authorities. 

Newton says they work all year round trying to increase the district's breakfast participation, "so far, in August, we had about 37% of our students that were eating breakfast with us on a daily basis. Currently, we have about 43[%] and that number continues to rise each day."

And with the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" emergency allotments enacted during the pandemic ending in the remaining 35 states offering it, "I'm sure a lot of families food budgets are going to be stretched this month and in the coming months as they adjust to that very significant change. So we may well see more kids are showing up early at school," Dean said.

Children who already benefit from SNAP or other federal assistance programs may be considered "categorically eligible," or through household income, for free or reduced breakfast.

Forms are available through schools, "we encourage any family who thinks they might qualify to go ahead and fill that out, even if they didn't fill it out the first day of school, they're able to fill it out throughout the school year," Newton said.


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