Breakfast After the Bell: Building a Better Tomorrow

This year, we introduced and advocated for bipartisan legislation—Breakfast After the Bell—that would make sure every kid in our community gets the healthy breakfast they need to learn and grow.

The proposed legislation was led by major public and private partners and supported by local community members. While the proposed legislation did not make it into this session’s final budget proposal, we should be proud of our progress.

By testifying in front of our state’s lawmakers, penning op-eds and letters to the editor, making endless phone calls, tweeting, and sending multiple emails to your state representatives, our community helped raise awareness of child hunger in Minnesota. Our collective efforts made Breakfast After the Bell a household name among legislators, school leaders, and community organizers alike.

Breakfast After the Bell Child HungerA special thank you to Representative Heather Edelson and Senator Paul Anderson for authoring the Breakfast After the Bell bill. Thank you to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Boston Consulting Group, Cargill, Children’s Minnesota, Education Minnesota, General Mills, Hunger Solutions, Minnesota Milk Producers Association, Minnesota School Nutrition Association, Share Our Strength, The Sheridan Story, and YouthPrise for being our steadfast partners throughout this progress.

If you’re interested in learning more about Breakfast After the Bell and Second Harvest Heartland’s child hunger initiative—keep reading!

First, why focus on breakfast?

Healthy child development is the foundation for community and economic development and the basis of our future prosperity as a state. Ensuring all children have the healthy food they need, regardless of where they live or their family circumstances, reflects an important investment in our shared future.

The truth is that one out of every 8 Minnesota students comes to school from a household that does not always have enough money to buy needed food—causing children to experience persistent, chronic physical and mental stress, activating their stress response systems, disrupting their brain development, and affecting other organs. It also increases the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment over a child’s lifetime.

BAB Cereal BowlPart of the way we can work to create a healthy future for the next generation is through increasing availability of free school breakfast for Minnesota’s learners.

  • On average, children who eat breakfast have higher nutrient intakes than children who do not eat breakfast
  • Children who eat breakfast on a daily basis are less likely to become overweight
  • Data shows that eating school breakfast prevents weight gain
  • Nationwide studies show that breakfast has a positive effect on test scores, grades, school attendance and tardiness rates
  • For students in greater Minnesota, reducing barriers to school breakfasts is an important way of fostering healthy cognitive and physical development


What can we do to improve the current situation of school breakfast?

The current structure of the school breakfast program limits participation, so not all students are able to benefit from this important resource. Every year, Minnesota schools that don’t operate Breakfast After the Bell leave up to $12 million of available federal funding on the table—$12 million that could be used to improve school nutrition programs for all students and schools in these districts.

What are our next steps?

We’ll be taking some time to regroup and hope we can count on you for your continued support when we bring Breakfast After the Bill back to the Minnesota Legislature.

In the meantime, Second Harvest Heartland will continue child hunger relief initiatives through innovative programming. Click here for more information on how you can support this important work. And if you’re looking for ways to increase healthy school breakfast in your own community, encourage your school and district leaders to pursue Breakfast After the Bell programs. Contact Theresa McCormick, Second Harvest Heartland’s Director of Programs, at for more information and resources.

Our Partners

The child hunger initiative partners include Second Harvest Heartland, Boston Consulting Group, Cargill, Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Education Minnesota, General Mills, Hunger Solutions, Minnesota Milk Producers, Minnesota School Nutrition Association, Share Our Strength, The Sheridan Story and Youthprise.

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