Rep. Innamorato, Sen. Williams applaud school breakfast min-grants

PITTSBURGH, May 16 – State Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Lawrenceville, and state Sen. Lindsey Williams, D-West View, today applauded the news that the Shaler Area Middle and High schools were selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to receive close to $10,000 to help make school breakfasts available to students.

“These grants will help students at our schools eat healthy breakfasts, which can have profound impacts on educational achievement,” Innamorato said. “We know that hunger has severe impacts on cognitive and social development, and one of five children in America lacks steady access to food. This program will help address that need, and help our children succeed.”

“We know that kids who are hungry can’t learn,” Williams said. “This grant funding gives local schools the opportunity to make breakfast more accessible to students while simultaneously eliminating the stigma that the free and reduced breakfast program can place on our middle and high school students.”

Gov. Tom Wolf launched the School Breakfast Initiative two years ago. Schools use grants up to $5,000 to implement a breakfast program using an “alternative serving method,” like grab-and-go, or breakfast in the classroom. Schools can also expand an existing program to include an alternative serving method. Breakfast must be made available to all students in a school.

“Students are more focused and in a better position to learn when they start their days with a healthy, nutritious meal,” Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said. “However, we know that only about 52 percent of the students who receive a free or reduced lunch also receive breakfast. The mini-grants enable schools to address food security issues and help more students by either starting a new breakfast program or by improving an existing one.”

More than 3,000 Pennsylvania schools report that they offer breakfast. However, fewer than half of those schools offer alternative serving methods.