Four local elementary schools win cash prizes for getting more eligible kids to participate in school breakfast programs
ENGLEWOOD , Colo., Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia joined anti-hunger organization Hunger Free Colorado, the Colorado No Kid Hungry® Campaign, educators, students and community leaders at Clayton Elementary School today to announce the winners of the Colorado School Breakfast Challenge Phase II, a statewide initiative supported by Gov. John Hickenlooper to encourage schools to get more eligible children to participate in the school breakfast program to ensure kids are coming to class ready to learn.
"The School Breakfast Program offers kids a nutritious breakfast so they can start the day off right and these schools are making sure no child goes hungry by ensuring breakfast is part of every student's school day," said Lt. Gov. Garcia. "Governor Hickenlooper and I congratulate all of the winners for their commitment to making sure Colorado students have the fuel they need to excel in the classroom."
Studies show that children who eat breakfast perform better on standardized tests, make fewer mistakes in math, and show a general increase in math and reading scores. The School Breakfast Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers all students a chance to start the day with a healthy meal, but according to the Colorado Department of Education, of the more than 217,000 low-income students in Colorado who ate free or reduced-price lunch a day in 2010, only 87,000 participated in the School Breakfast Program.
The winners of the Colorado School Breakfast Challenge were all serving school breakfast in a cafeteria before class and switched to a Breakfast in the Classroom model, which allows students to eat breakfast at their desks, making it part of their instructional time. Breakfast in the Classroom also reduces stigma, enhances early morning instruction time and ensures that kids who get to school right when class starts get breakfast.
As a result of their efforts, all Challenge winners saw a substantial increase in school breakfast participation.
- Clayton Elementary was awarded the Gold Award and $5,000 for a more than 72 percent increase.
- The Silver Award and $3,000 went to Penrose Elementary with a 71 percent increase.
- Longfellow Elementary was awarded Bronze and $2,000 for a more than 67 percent increase.
- Honorable Mention and $1,000 went to Northeast Elementary for a 66 percent increase.
In addition to the school prizes, each school district's Nutrition Services department associated with the winning schools gets $1,000.
"One in five children in Colorado are at risk of hunger and a recent Share Our Strength survey showed that nearly two-thirds of K-8 teachers say children regularly come to school hungry," said Ruth Stemler, Director of Share Our Strength Colorado. "Models like Breakfast in the Classroom make school breakfast more accessible and ensure our students are prepared to learn each day. The results show that simple changes to a school's breakfast program can create long-lasting change."
Gold award winner Clayton Elementary partnered with the Western Dairy Association's Fuel Up to Play 60 to implement Breakfast in the Classroom program. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program that empowers youth to take actions to improve nutrition and physical activity at their school and for their own health.
"We appreciate the support we received from the Colorado School Breakfast Challenge, the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, and our district Food Service Department. Our students are eating breakfast at the beginning of every school day, which allows them to focus on learning," said Nikki Westfall, Principal of Clayton Elementary School.
"We are proud of all the schools who participated in the Challenge," said Kathy Underhill, Executive Director for Hunger Free Colorado. "This Challenge has increased the energy and excitement around school breakfast and we are thrilled to be continuing with this initiative."
The Colorado No Kid Hungry Campaign is a statewide partnership of Hunger Free Colorado, Share Our Strength and the Office of Governor John Hickenlooper. The Campaign brings together state agencies, local non-profits and corporate partners to end childhood hunger in Colorado. This partnership is part of the national No Kid Hungry Campaign, which has campaigns in 15 other states across the country. The Colorado No Kid Hungry Campaign is generously supported by the Walmart Foundation, among other corporate partners.
"Progress of the Colorado No Kid Hungry campaign and efforts to increase school breakfast participation are ensuring no child in this state goes hungry," said Denise Allison, the Englewood Walmart store manager.
Share Our Strength also supports Colorado Cooking Matters®, which educates families about how to get more from their food resources and put healthy meals on the table with the help of volunteer culinary and nutrition experts. Cooking Matters courses in Colorado helped more than 2,700 families discover how to prepare healthy and affordable meals in 2011.
Go to NoKidHungry.org/Colorado or hungerfreecolorado.org/the-campaign-to-end-childhood-hunger-5yr-plan to learn more about the partnership. Visit Strength.org to learn more about Share Our Strength and visit HungerFreeColorado.org to learn more about the Colorado School Breakfast Challenge.
About Share Our Strength
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About Hunger Free Colorado
Visit www.hungerfreecolorado.org to learn more.
SOURCE Share Our Strength