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Hungry kids: how you can help break the cycle this summer

This article is Sponsored by United Way

Think about it. How do you feel when you miss breakfast? Lethargic. Stressed out. Angry. Distracted. It’s not your imagination. Breakfast is called the “most important meal of the day” for a reason.

Terrill Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University, states that without a fresh supply of glucose in the morning, “People have difficulty understanding new information, (they have a) problem with visual and spatial understanding, and they don’t remember things as well.”

And, that goes for adults and children as well.   According to a scientific study from the National Institute of Health, eating breakfast greatly affects the behavior of children and adolescents, particularly as it pertains to academics.  A nutritious breakfast greatly affects how well a student learns in the classroom.

Food insecure households in the US and Arizona

Unfortunately, not every child has access to a healthy breakfast before school. Hunger is a real problem in the United States, and children and adolescents are some of the most affected populations.

In the Phoenix Valley alone, 82,000 households qualify as food insecure — meaning they may not know where their next meal is coming from. That’s a tremendous amount of families, and children, in need.

HungerInfographicThe effect of hunger on academic performance

As shown by the study referenced above, if children have access to a nutritious breakfast, they will do better in school. Children living in food insecure households are:

  • 50 percent more likely to miss days of school
  • Twice as likely to be suspended
  • 50 percent more likely to have to repeat a grade

Valley of the Sun United Way is working to help young students get a critical foundation to their learning day through the Breakfast in the Classroom program.


Take a #BreakFromBreakfast

Valley of Sun United Way and KTAR NEWS are teaming up to encourage you to ‘Take a Break From Breakfast.’  Learn more about Breakfast in The Classroom program, and receive a free meal from First Watch. You’ll also be entered to win breakfast for a year.   And in return, consider taking the money you would have spent on breakfast, and donate it back to United Way. Your support will help Break the Cycle of Poverty for families in our community

Through programs like this, United Way can ensure that more students start out their school day with a good meal. Better attendance, higher grades and more learning can all take place when students get the nutrients they need each morning. You can help by taking a break from breakfast or by visiting today.

Since 1925, Valley of the Sun United Way has been uniting diverse partners and bringing together donors, business supporters, non-profits, government and faith-based communities to build a stronger Valley for us all.   United Way is the largest investor in health and human services in the Valley. With the support of more than 90,000 individual donors, 700 business supporters, and a wide array of volunteers and partners, we unite to break the cycle of poverty for families in our community.