May 26, 2019
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School breakfast program underused by low-income Maine students

Matt York | AP
Matt York | AP
Kitchen worker Nancy Martinez serves a student a free breakfast at San Marcos Elementary School cafeteria in Chandler, Arizona, April 26, 2018.

Only 60 percent of Maine children who participate in federal free and reduced price school lunch programs also participate in school breakfast, according to a report released Wednesday by the national nonprofit Food Research and Action Center.

Maine is faring better than many states, but could do more to ensure that low-income students eat breakfast, said Crystal Fitzsimons, spokeswoman for the Food Research and Action Center.

“If they would implement breakfast after the bell more broadly, we think there would probably be an additional 5,000 kids who would benefit from school breakfast,” she said.

Fitzsimons said most schools offer breakfast in cafeterias before classes begin, but many children don’t arrive in time to participate. Offering grab-and-go meal carts at school entrances, she said, is one way to improve access.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.


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