The national anti-hunger campaign No Kid Hungry has named Haverhill state Rep. Andy X. Vargas as one of the six nationwide winners of its 2020 School Breakfast Hero contest.
Vargas was named because of his advocacy for the Breakfast After the Bell legislation which requires all students receive a free breakfast in public schools. The legislation increases access to school breakfast to more than 150,000 low-income students across the Commonwealth by making it a part of the school day.
“Smart legislation is one of the most effective ways to increase participation in school breakfast programs,” said Bernadette Downey, Share Our Strength’s associate director, government relations and advocacy. “Once this legislation is enacted, thousands more kids in Massachusetts will get the nutrition they need to reach their full potential – thanks to the strong leadership of these three breakfast heroes.”
Vargas joins Massachusetts Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Aaron Vega in receiving the honor.
No Kid Hungry is an active member of Rise and Shine Massachusetts, a statewide coalition of more than 50 hunger-relief and education organizations advocating for state legislation that increases equitable access and participation in school breakfast. In a statement, the group said, accessing traditional cafeteria breakfast service can be challenging for many kids due to transportation delays, stigma and other barriers. Breakfast after the bell allows students to get breakfast after the school day starts in the classroom or from grab and go carts. This makes breakfast convenient and accessible to students, resulting in more kids starting the day ready to learn.