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No Kid Hungry California - Breakfast After The Bell

Share Our Strength


California is 28th in the country for the number of children who are eligible, but not receiving school breakfast. More than half the state’s breakfast need is in the LA Area, which includes dense urban poverty and isolated regions with food deserts. We are currently partnering with schools in LA County to expand access and participation for breakfast by implementing “Breakfast After the Bell" and making breakfast a part of the school day. Our goal is to increase breakfast participation over the next year in 20-30 schools throughout LA County.

Please describe the mission of your organization.

For over 30 years, Share Our Strength has been a leader in the war against poverty. In 2010, we launched No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America to ensure kids have access to meals where they live, learn, and play. Today, 1/3 fewer kids are struggling with hunger.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

1.7 million children in California are growing up in families that struggle to put enough food on the table. Food is one of the most significant social determinants of who will have good health and who will suffer from disease and inequities. By connecting kids to healthy food, we can start improving health outcomes today and the adults they become in the future. Meals provided through federal nutrition programs—like free and reduced-price school breakfast and lunch—are healthy and dependable sources of nutrition for kids facing hunger. When schools fully harness federal child nutrition programs, they can serve as nutrition hubs. Breakfast fuels the momentum for ending childhood hunger. Traditional school breakfast is served in the cafeteria before the start of the school day. A late bus, conflicting family work schedules, and the stigma of being the ‘poor kid’ keep millions of children from a healthy morning meal. Only 39% of eligible kids are eating breakfast at school in California.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Breakfast After the Bell feeds more kids. Nine years of school breakfast work has taught us a lot. We’ve crafted a set of practical, successful tools and approaches that work in all kinds of communities. Our No Kid Hungry breakfast strategy can be customized to meet the unique needs of districts, schools, and students everywhere. We plan and execute our work based on a measurable, data-driven approach.

Making breakfast available as part of the school day eliminates the barriers and dramatically increases participation in the program. There are 3 versions of the program: 1) Breakfast in the Classroom where breakfast is delivered and eaten in the classroom. Participation rates avg 88%. 2) Second Chance Breakfast where students eat breakfast during a break in the morning, often between 1st and 2nd period. Participation rates avg 70%. 3) Grab and Go where students pick up breakfasts from the mobile service carts on the way to class. Participation rates avg 63%.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

“Breakfast After the Bell” is a cornerstone of No Kid Hungry’s approach to ending childhood hunger. We know this model increases breakfast participation rates, reduces stigma, and has countless other benefits for kids at risk of hunger. A new research report That came out in January 2020 shows that serving breakfast as part of the school day also has the potential to significantly reduce chronic absenteeism in schools, which currently affects more than 8 million students each year. The original research, conducted on behalf of No Kid Hungry by researchers at the UCSB, found that serving breakfast as part of the school day can reduce chronic absenteeism by an average of 6 percentage points.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

As a means of assessing our progress toward that goal, we utilize school-level data from the California Department of Education to track average daily participation rate increases. Last year, through our efforts in the Oakland Unified School District, we tracked average daily participation rates pre and post Breakfast After the Bell Implementation across seven schools we supported, which resulted in an average daily student participation increase of 138%. While percentage increases vary based on initial participation, the models chosen to implement and the efficacy of the implementation process, our experience across the country and in California demonstrate these increases are achievable.

In addition to tracking participation rates, we use secondary outputs to track our overall progress to goals related to our specific strategies including:

  • Number of schools implementing or committed to implementing Breakfast After the Bell models
  • Number of school decision-makers targeted and engaged in conversations toward the goal of breakfast expansion and the strength of those relationships to yield future impact
  • Number of school and political champions cultivated.
  • Number of Breakfast Champion touch-points created throughout the year through both media and peer-to-peer tactics.

As an organization, we have a uniform reporting structure documenting program participation data: In November, we will have finalized data on participation from the previous school year; In March, we will have preliminary data on the first 3-4 months of the current school year; and in July we will have 7-9 months of the previous school year data. These data points will be used to evaluate and adjust program strategies and to direct planning for each school year.

Over the school year, we worked with schools across Southern California and the Greater Los Angeles Region to help them get started on their own of Breakfast After the Bell programs. Here is an example of “success” and how Breakfast After the Bell impacted a high school in Rialto:

Last school year, No Kid Hungry gave Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California a $26,000 grant to start a Breakfast in the Classroom program. Our Breakfast Navigators were on hand to provide technical help and resources. Before Eisenhower started the program, kids could only get breakfast before school started in the cafeteria, and only 400 students were eating breakfast at school. Today over 2,000 students are starting their day with school breakfast, 400% increase.

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Access to healthy food
  • Food insecurity

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings