A Place at the Table: Advocating for Change

Thank you for taking part in the discussion on food insecurity.

Most MN schools have free lunch programs. The students that participate in the free lunch program are also eligible for free breakfasts.  Unfortunately, less than 10% of the eligible students receive free breakfasts. Send a letter to Dr. Cassellius, Minnesota’s Education Commissioner encouraging better participation in the free breakfast program.

You can make your voice heard in three easy steps that take less than 5 minutes:

  1. Copy the letter below
  2. Sign the letter
  3. Email the letter to Dr. Cassellius, Minnesota’s Education Commissioner, mde.commissioner@state.mn.us

Dr. Brenda Cassellius
Office of the Commissioner
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville MN 55113

Dear Dr. Brenda Cassellius:

I am a member of the Junior League of Minneapolis and a firm believer in eliminating the youth achievement gap in Minnesota.  I strongly believe that our children are ultimately responsible for the future success of Minnesota and the United States and that it is our generation’s responsibility to ensure that future generations receive a fair and strong start in life.

One such way we can provide a strong start for our children is to ensure that all children receive a healthy breakfast.  Therefore, I encourage this Department to implement and/or increase in all Minnesota school districts student participation in the USDA-funded free school breakfasts for students who qualify.

The research and facts support that free schools breakfasts positively impact children, families, local businesses, and society as a whole.

  • [i]In Minnesota, only 39 percent of the breakfasts that are available to students through the free school breakfast are actually served. That translates into a “missing meals” gap of more than 29 million meals.
  • Our failure to implement/increase free school breakfasts costs Minnesota $48 million in unused federal and state reimbursement dollars on the table.
  • Our failure to take advantage of this program also costs local businesses approximately $23 million in profits that could be spent on food.
  • Research conducted by the University of Minnesota (along with numerous other local and national organizations) demonstrate that students who eat breakfast (whether at home or through the free school breakfast program) perform better on standardized tests, have better attendance records, have fewer behavioral problems, lower their risk of being overweight or obese, have higher graduation rates, increase their earning potential, build better lives for themselves and their children, and decrease society’s unemployment rates.

Therefore, I petition this Department to implement free school breakfasts and/or increase student participation in free school breakfasts for all qualifying students.  Working together, we can continue to build a better and stronger Minnesota.  Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

 


[i] All statistics are from the MN Children’s Defense Fund: School Breakfast Initiative.  http://www.cdf-mn.org/programs-campaigns/school-breakfast-initiative/

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