Press Releases

CCC Press Release: CCC Releases Report on NYC School Breakfast Program

Released May 15, 2012

Today, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc. (CCC) released The School Breakfast Program in New York City Public Schools: Results From a Parent Survey Concerning Student Participation, a report that describes New York City parents’ opinions about the School Breakfast Program. While New York City offers free breakfast to all public school students, a shockingly low percentage of New York City’s school children actually participate in the School Breakfast Program. In an effort to learn more about these children’s breakfast habits and why so few children have been participating in the School Breakfast Program, CCC surveyed the parents of New York City public school students about where, when and how their children were eating breakfast.

‘Through our qualitative research, we have gained important insights from parents about their children’s experiences with the School Breakfast Program. Their perspectives are invaluable in helping us determine how best to increase New York City school children’s participation in school breakfast, especially in communities where families struggle with food insecurity,’ said CCC Executive Director, Jennifer March-Joly.

Key survey findings include:

  • Parents surveyed recognized the importance of breakfast, and were happy that their children can receive a free breakfast at school.
  • Despite their positive views regarding breakfast and the free distribution of breakfast in school, about a quarter of those surveyed reported that their children had not eaten
    breakfast every day in the previous school week.
  • Almost all survey participants whose children had experience with the Breakfast in the Classroom Program thought that the program was advantageous for their children.
  • More than half of survey participants reported that their children had never eaten breakfast at home and at school on the same day.

New York City has the opportunity to ensure that over one million public school children receive a healthy breakfast at the start of each day through the School Breakfast Program. This is critical, not only because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but also because so many of New York City’s public school children live in food insecure households. Despite these facts, New York City’s school breakfast participation rate remains low, trailing behind many other major American cities.

According to CCC’s Policy Associate for Food and Economic Security, Louise Feld, “We must capitalize on the opportunities the School Breakfast Program provides to feed New York City students nutritious meals and to start their school days off right, especially since so many of our City’s children lack consistent access to healthy food.”

CCC does not want the opportunity that the School Breakfast Program represents to be squandered. In order to markedly increase New York City children’s participation in school breakfast, CCC’s report recommends the expansion of the Breakfast in the Classroom program (BIC). Unlike traditional breakfast in the cafeteria, which is served early in the morning before the school days begins, BIC offers in-classroom breakfast to all children at the start of the school day. CCC also recommends beginning this expansion in the most food-insecure neighborhoods, and exploring ways to increase parental engagement. CCC Chairman Marcy Sandler stated, “CCC strongly supports expanding the Breakfast in the Classroom program as well as increased outreach to further engage parents in their children’s breakfasts, both at home and at school.” Click here to read CCC’s report.

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