Haverhill Student Nutrition Focus of New $18K Healthy Breakfast Program

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Eight city schools are set to share in an $18,750 grant from Project Bread and other healthy eating advocacy groups for Haverhill to implement a program called “Breakfast After the Bell,” Mayor James J. Fiorentini and state Rep. Andy Vargas tell WHAV.

The grant comes four months after Vargas co-sponsored legislation that advocated for a nutritious breakfast for city children so that attendance and test scores may improve. Vargas continues to prioritize nutrition through Haverhill Promise, the city’s effort to get all students reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

“There’s a direct correlation between nutrition and academic success. Students can’t learn if they’re not fed. That’s why Breakfast After the Bell was one of the first bills my office decided to sponsor—once we saw how breakfast participation rates soared in districts with Breakfast After the Bell, we knew there was a huge opportunity for Haverhill kids,” Vargas said.

The grant would not have been made possible without the help of Superintendent Margaret Marotta, Vargas said.

According to Project Bread statistics, one in eight children in the state struggle with hunger.

The district continues to pursue avenues to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision, with at least three-quarters of Haverhill schools expected to qualify for universal free breakfast and lunch. That program was first outlined by Marotta at a School Committee meeting last October.

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