Universal school breakfast would:
Improve the state of child hunger in Alabama.
- 23% of school-age children in Alabama are food insecure.
- Universal school breakfast could guarantee a morning meal for nearly 280,000 Alabama children during their required school day.
Address chronic absenteeism.
- Alabama’s statewide chronic absenteeism more than doubled from 8% to 18% in 2023 after schools stopped serving universal school meals.
Improve adolescent mental health.
- Young adults who reported experiencing food insecurity during childhood also reported greater psychological distress in adulthood, according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data.
Improve standardized testing and math scores in Alabama.
- Alabama ranks 46th in average math ACT scores.
- Student academic achievement increases, especially for math, when accessible breakfasts are made available to school-age children.
Alleviate behavioral problems and the school-to-prison pipeline.
- Alabama children ages 10 and up are detained at nearly twice the national average, with children of color detained twice as frequently as their white peers.
- The School Breakfast Program originated from a community pilot program that demonstrated the positive impact of universal breakfast for Black school-age children specifically.