Solutions Blog


Expanding free school breakfast in Minnesota

A proven idea that works to improve student health and achievement

St. Paul MN – Hunger Solutions Minnesota, Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota, Legal Aid, and the Minnesota Partners to End Hunger applaud Governor Mark Dayton’s choice to include $28 million to fund universal free school breakfast for grades Pre- K – 3rd grade in his newly released 2015 Budget.  We support this measure and will work to advocate this legislation as it will effectively address child hunger and family food insecurity.

Minnesotans continue to struggle to put food on the table. Currently, 1 in 5 families are food insecure. Minnesota food shelves are visited by 8,500 people each day. Our coalition expects our leaders to create fair and robust policies that will make sure all families will be able to put food on their tables.

A national Share Our Strength survey of educators revealed that three out of four teachers and principals say they see kids who regularly come to school hungry and 87 percent of principals say they see hungry kids in their schools at least once per week.

Children who are undernourished have poorer cognitive functioning when they miss breakfast. Children with hunger are more likely to have repeated a grade, received special education services, or received mental health counseling, than low-income children who do not experience hunger.

"When kids don't have breakfast, or they haven't had a meal for a long time, they don't have enough fuel to actually get the brain going." -Chrisa Arcan, University of Minnesota medical school. 

“When kids don’t have breakfast, or they haven’t had a meal for a long time, they don’t have enough fuel to actually get the brain going.” -Chrisa Arcan, University of Minnesota medical school.

Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota said, “We can and must fix this hunger gap.  Along with lunch at school, breakfast is a ready and waiting hunger relief tool that can be expanded in Minnesota.”

Children who eat a complete breakfast make fewer mistakes and work faster in math and number checking tests. Children who eat breakfast at school – closer to class and test-taking time –perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home.

Minnesota is ranked 30th out of all 50 states in offering a school breakfast program:

  • Number of MN students eating free/reduced breakfast each day:132,885
  • Ratio of students eating breakfast to eating free/reduced lunch:47.8
  • Number of Minnesota schools serving breakfast:1,662
  • Percent of schools serving breakfast to those serving lunch:81.8%




Jill Martinez


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