Amazon has announced that its school breakfast program is projected to provide access to more than 9 million breakfasts for over 50,000 students by the end of this year.
The program, a collaboration with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, enables schools to incorporate nutritious breakfasts into the regular school day and helps to remove hunger as a barrier to learning for students in need of a healthy morning meal. Amazon’s funding supports technology, education, advocacy and implementation in over 450 schools in local communities across the U.S. where it operates.
One in six children in the U.S. face hunger, and studies show breakfast is a critical meal to ensure nutrition and to fuel the brain for the school day. However, according to a 2019 research report compiled by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), just over half of the kids who qualify for free breakfast are actually getting it. Students who eat breakfast have higher test scores in maths, perform better on standardised tests, and have improved behaviour in the class. In contrast, students who skip breakfast and experience hunger generally have slower memory recall, make more errors, and are more likely to be absent, tardy or to repeat a grade.
“Kids can’t learn when they are hungry. I know that breakfast is vital to our student’s ability to focus,” said Pamela Pansa, Local Food Nutrition Service Director at Crete-Monee School District 201-U in Illinois. “Amazon’s support enables us to strengthen our breakfast program and ensure each student has access to the food they need to learn and thrive.”
“With Amazon’s commitment to fighting child hunger, No Kid Hungry has been able to accelerate its impact by investing in entire school districts to reach more under-resourced students at scale,” said Billy Shore, Executive Chairman of Share Our Strength. “The result is healthier kids, higher achievement, and a stronger workforce and economy.”
“Childhood hunger is intolerable – hunger should not be a factor affecting a child’s ability to succeed,” said Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Member, House Education and Labour Committee and 2016 National Teacher of the Year. “It’s imperative that children and families struggling to put food on the table have access to school meals as an additional means of nutrition and the critical support from partners like Amazon increase this access for our most vulnerable children so they have a full plate to start their day of studies.”
“At Amazon, we want all children, regardless of background, to have the resources to build their best future,” said Alice Shobe, Director, Amazon in the Community. “This is why we focus on helping to remove the most basic barriers to education.”
Traditional school breakfast programs serve breakfast in the cafeteria before school hours, which excludes large numbers of eligible students who may not be able to arrive early to school or who experience the stigma associated with free school breakfasts. Making breakfast a part of the regular school day serves all students directly in their classrooms, which means a lot more children get to eat.
School breakfast programs are a part of Amazon’s effort to address “Right Now Needs,” which include increasing access to food, shelter and basic goods for children and their families.