More than half of EPISD schools to offer free breakfast


POSTED: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 5:45pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 7:57pm

Ten-percent of kids in El Paso go to school hungry. A new law will help not only feed these kids, but also their peers. With 85,000 children here in El Paso County being food insecure, going hungry is not only a health issue but an educational one as well. That's because experts have claimed hungry children cannot learn as much and as quickly as their peers who have access to breakfast. Senate Bill 376 will help combat this statistic.

85,000 El Paso County children skip meals not because they choose to but because they can't afford it. "We know that breakfast is a very important part of a child's day and that prepares them for a day of learning and achievement,” Jeniffer Renn, the Food Nutrition Director of EPISD explained.

A new state law will require schools to provide breakfast to all students who go to schools in which more than 80-percent of the population falls below the poverty income level. EPISD is bracing for the changes that will happen within their district for the 2014-2015 school year. "We anticipate approximately 46 schools will be impacted. We're already doing universal free at 16 of those schools. "

EPISD said they provide breakfast at elementary and middle schools and so does the Ysleta Independent School District.

"Ysleta is already ahead of the curve since we are doing free breakfast in the middle schools and the elementary,” Michael Vasquez, the Director of Child Nutrition Services for YISD told us. Educators at YISD say none of their high schools meet the criteria to provide breakfast so no change in this district.
Free breakfast will not be offered.

But the Center Against Family Violence is applauding this new law and how it will impact children in domestic violence situations. "A lot of times because of domestic violence going on at home if there was an argument in the morning they kind of rush out, get to school just in time,” Sandra Garcia, the Director of Client Services for CAFV said.

Breakfast will be one less meal to worry about -- a way to make sure these kids start the day off right.
Universal breakfast is a federally funded program. Other school districts in the area, such as Socorro and Canutillo also provide their elementary and middle school students with free breakfast.

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