‘Breakfast’ Means More Than Food for Valley Children

12/13/2015, By Valley of the Sun United Way

For many children in our community, breakfast is much more than a morning meal; it’s a vital pathway to successful learning, good health and a sense of security.

“We aren’t just feeding hungry children,” says Jayson Matthews, Director of Ending Hunger at Valley of the Sun United Way. “We’re making that meal the best part of their day by providing nutritious, good-tasting food in a safe, happy, non-stressful environment in the presence of their friends and a caring adult.”

Matthews is describing Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), an innovative program supported by United Way, the Arizona Department of Education and the Dairy Council of Arizona to make sure all kids in our community start the day off with a good meal. The initiative takes the traditional school breakfast approach and improves it with one key ingredient: the classroom. Breakfast is served after the opening bell to ensure it is available to all children.

In a statement recently released by the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), food insecurity is linked with lower cognitive performance, behavioral issues, and emotional distress among children of all ages. The report underscored that the inability to consistently provide food creates stress in families, contributing to depression, anxiety, and toxic stress.

“Food insecurity is the stress of not knowing where your next meal is coming from,” says Matthews.

According to “Hunger in America: Arizona State Report,” among all client households served by emergency food programs in Arizona,

  • 77% are food insecure
  • 86%  of households with children are food insecure
  • 74% have incomes below the federal poverty level

Your support will make a difference in the lives of thousands of Valley kids who go to school without breakfast.

WLC members are making a difference in the education and well-being of students in our community.

Leigh Anne Tuohy the tenacious and inspiring real-life mom from “The Blind Side,” played by Sandra Bullock, is bringing her message of perseverance, philanthropy and empowerment to We Are United, a special Women’s Leadership Council luncheon on Thursday, April 7.

Valley of the Sun United Way is on a mission to provide Breakfast in The Classroom to 130 schools and more than 74,000 children throughout Maricopa County who currently do not have such a program.

These schools have high rates of poverty and hunger -- and our children are at risk of not having a steady, healthy, nutritious breakfast and they come unprepared for their school day.

The Difference is U! Support BIC Today!

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