Free City Schools Breakfasts Lack Participation

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New York City schools offer free breakfasts but a new report says the city ranks second to last when it comes to participation rates. The Food Research Action Center compared the percentage of kids who use free meal programs in 23 large American cities. They found only 29-percent of New York City students who are eligible for free lunches also get free breakfasts. In nearby Newark, New Jersey, the number is closer to 94 percent.

Joel Berg from the city's Coalition Against Hunger says getting more students to eat breakfast would not just help the kids' health but also could help the city's bottom-line.

“If only 70-percent of the children eligible for breakfast got them, that would bring 49-million-dollars more in federal funding to New York City because every single free and reduced priced breakfast is reimbursed by the federal government.”

A spokesperson for the city's Department of Education says the school breakfast program has increased dramatically ever since the Bloomberg Administration adopted universal school breakfasts three and a half years ago which makes the morning meal free to all students regardless of income.