Universal Free Breakfast for PA's K-12 Students
Updated: Oct 8, 2022
By: Dianna Halloran
"A well-nourished child who starts the day with breakfast is more likely to be at school, has improved concentration, and is more willing to participate in the classroom."
As many State High Students have heard, free breakfast is back through the end of this 2022–23 school year. Typically in Pennsylvania, breakfast foods can range from two dollars to five dollars. Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation of this state-funded program, which ensures that all K-12 students will have access to breakfast before they start their school day.
For myself, finding time in the chaos of each morning before school to grab breakfast can be tricky; many other students can probably agree. Low-income kids without access to food at home also result in a hungry morning. On the days I do not get breakfast, it definitely negatively affects my learning and ability to focus. Taking that feeling, and putting myself in the shoes of people who might not have breakfast available to them at home every day, emphasizes the importance of the assistance this program gives. In fact, a lack of breakfast can lead to more difficulty with focusing.
A recent press release from Pennsylvania’s Official Government website discusses this new program and its benefits for students. It explains how “research supports that a well-nourished child who starts the day with breakfast is more likely to be at school, has improved concentration, and is more willing to participate in the classroom.” Without breakfast, distractions such as stomach growling, headaches, and mood swings can occur while in class. This affects the overall learning and can also impact a student's grades. This reinforces the fact that this program will positively impact the lives of our peers at State High. Furthermore, the article describes that breakfast consumption increased by 16 percent under a similar program last year. In our school demographics that means roughly 480 students will be provided with breakfast that would not have been before!
This plan taking place helps make sure meals are not the biggest issue for families' lives, and we couldn't be happier. There is power behind a community and helping one another with basic needs such as food. DAH, with its past charity events, has helped gather people together for this cause. This program furthers our cause as it alleviates the food insecurity that low-income families may face. For the 1.7 million Pennsylvania school children who get to start their mornings with a full stomach, they will also be able to focus and learn better.