Vargas pushes for effective breakfast after the bell program
On Monday, Rep. Vargas offered testimony in support of Breakfast After the Bell legislation to ensure that every student has access to a healthy meal. The program has already been effective at feeding thousands of children in some of the Commonwealth's school districts.
In his remarks Rep. Vargas noted, "After learning about the program’s success in other districts, I immediately believed that this should be a priority in Haverhill. I heard about breakfast participation rates soaring, districts using the extra revenue produced to buy classroom essentials, and most importantly I heard the stories of relieved parents and nourished students."
Breakfast After the Bell addresses to core issues with breakfast as currently offered in most schools: transportation and stigma. Students of impoverished households have a tough time finding transportation to arrive early to school, combined with the stigma of "only poor kids eat in the cafeteria." Providing breakfast just after the first bell has proven to increase breakfast participation rates for students who need it most.
Rep. Vargas said that as of this spring, Haverhill now has "8 schools offering breakfast after the bell in the district. Just last week I visited one of the programs and was impressed by how receptive staff were to rolling out a program mid-to-late year. It demonstrated to me that breakfast after the bell is not an inconsiderate mandate, but a moral imperative to feeding children who need it most across the Commonwealth."