Those statistics come from Strength.org, the people behind the No Kid Hungry initiative that is supported by the Hermitage Hotel's annual Share Our Strength dinner. According to the organization, kids who participate in a school breakfast program miss less school and score 17.5 percent better in math tests. The combination of these factors lead to a 20 percent higher high school graduation rate for the breakfast club, and they extrapolate this to an average of $10,000 more in annual salary for high school grads versus dropouts.
While this progression of logic may be a big leap for some to make, there's no question that many kids depend on the meals that they receive at school as their primary nutrition for the day, and breakfast is an important part of that. Unfortunately, not every school participates in the free or reduced-price breakfast program, for any number of reasons that can include space, timing, staffing or funding issues.
No Kid Hungry needs more data to help them drive their initiative to broaden the breakfast programs, and they are reaching out to the Internet for assistance. If you'd like to help out with the information about your particular school district, head to the organization's website and contribute your knowledge. Share whether the school your children attend serves breakfast and you can participate in the amalgamated data.
Here's what they have found out so far about Tennessee and specifically Nashville.
Currently, an estimated 58% of low-income middle and elementary school children that are eating school lunch are also eating school breakfast in Tennessee. If 70% of those eligible students who eat school lunch were also eating school breakfast, 231,174 kids in need would get school breakfast.
That could mean: 59,403 additional days attended per year, 39,602 could have better math scores per year, which would lead to 9,901 additional graduates
Tennessee's Congressional District 5 has 193 total elementary, middle and high schools with an enrollment of 100,533 students. 52% of those students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and breakfast.
Help Strength.org sharpen their data so they can lobby our food system to better serve the next generation. It's as easy as a point and click, and you can make a real difference.