As part of National School Breakfast Week, the Rise and Shine MA Coalition recently held a legislative lobby day at the State House in support of An Act regarding breakfast after the bell, legislation filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D—Everett) in the Senate and Representative Aaron Vega (D—Holyoke) and Representative Andy Vargas (D—Haverhill) in the House.
If implemented as proposed, this legislation would require more than 600 high-poverty Massachusetts schools to offer breakfast after bell — which includes alternative models for serving breakfast after the start of the school day (breakfast in the classroom, grab n’ go, second chance) — allowing them to overcome common barriers such as late bus arrivals and social stigma, as well as reduce hunger during morning classes.
As a key indicator for why this bill is needed, the 2019 School Breakfast Scorecard released by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) revealed that Massachusetts lags behind other states in school breakfast participation. Despite reaching 186,747 low-income children with school breakfast on a typical day in the 2017-2018 school year—a 2.3 percent increase from the prior school year— Massachusetts still remains ranked 33rd in the nation in school breakfast participation.
Senator DiDomenico closed out the lobby day speaking program making the case for why this legislation is so critically needed for our Commonwealth’s high need schools. This is the second legislative session that Senator DiDomenico has filed An Act regarding breakfast after the bell. Last session, the Senate passed DiDomenico’s bill with a unanimous vote. Building off that momentum, the Senator plans to make this his top legislative priority this session.