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Breakfast in the classroom: Select LA students to receive free morning meal

A new initiative called
A new initiative called "Food for Thought" aims to provide free school breakfasts to students at low income schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) along with LA Fund for Public Education, is rolling out a new dining program called "Food for Thought" to provide free breakfast for students at 267 of the city's poorest schools.

There's as many as 132,000 students who do not eat breakfast each day, according to the LA Fund, and there more than 553,000 students who live in poverty throughout the LAUSD.

The new initiative is attempting to change these numbers by delivering breakfast to select schools beginning next year. Elementary school students will spend the first 10 minutes of their day eating their morning meal in the classroom, while secondary school students will follow a "Grab n' Go" model that allows them to pick up food at campus kiosks on their way to class.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the program aims to increase school breakfast consumption in the LAUSD from 29 percent to 70 percent, according to David Binkle, the district’s food services deputy director.

Studies show that eating breakfast can lead to higher test scores and increased student attendance, LA Fund reports, in addition to affecting the children's overall health. School nurses also reported receiving less complaints from students about stomachaches and headaches, after a "universal breakfast program" was implemented at their school.

The "Food for Thought" program was kicked off on Thursday at Figueroa Street Elementary School in South L.A, where "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara, Superintendent John Deasy and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, among others, discussed the advantages of the new program and the overall impact of a morning meal.

“Our mothers were right: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the L.A. Times reports.

More than 200,000 students are expected to be affected by this new initiative within its first year.