Academia del Pueblo School students recieve breakfast, part of local program

Posted at 1:27 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 20:40:09-04

Nearly one in four children in Arizona are food insecure and may not know where their next meal will come from.

A local program is making sure kids don't go to school hungry. Kids starting the school day at Academia del Pueblo School in Phoenix are getting a healthy meal, now better prepared to learn.

"They can now get to school, have a healthy breakfast and let the learning begin right at 8 o'clock," said Principal Frank Lomeli.

United Way started the breakfast in the classroom program three years ago to help 74,000 Valley students in low-income areas.

Bank of America is stepping up with $140,000 that will help 20,000 of these students.

"For us, it's exciting because our students are the most valuable assets of Arizona," said Benito Almanza, Bank of America Arizona president.

While school lunches are subsidized, breakfast isn't. 

In Arizona 28 percent of children show up to school hungry, affecting their academic performance.

"Students used to get to school, bee-line to the playground to go play with their kids--they forget about breakfast, and then 8:30 comes around, 9 o'clock, their tummies are hurting," Lomeli said.

Breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day, it's critical for students' success in the classroom.

Teachers in this program report increased attendance and student alertness.

"They can learn, be ready to learn, and we've seen where the results actually help them in terms of their performance in school," Almanza said.