According to a recent study, more than 60 percent of students do not eat breakfast each day. That leaves many kids showing up to school hungry and thus not able to perform at their best in the classroom. During National School Breakfast Week (March 3-7), nine states in the Midwest kicked off Fuel Up to Play 60’s It Starts With School Breakfast campaign with fun, in-school events. They included:
Kansas – Local dairy farmer Byron Lehman attended the breakfast event at Marshall Middle School in Wichita. The students taste tested a new breakfast menu item – Peaches & Cream Waffle Dunkers, part of the “Breakfast Lab” innovation session. Food industry experts developed 10 recipes for testing in schools around the country that are kid-focused, dairy-centric, meet USDA breakfast guidelines and fit within the food cost structure for school meal programs. After the tastings, the food industry will receive information about this study and be encouraged to bring the most successful concepts to the market place.
Minnesota – Students from John Glenn Middle School in Maplewood were treated to a visit from Minnesota Viking placekicker Blair Walsh, who gave tips to students on living an active lifestyle. The event also featured remarks from Patty Phillips, superintendent of district 622 and guests included Maplewood Mayor Nora Slawik, State Representative Leon Lillie, Julie Mikkelson from the USDA Midwest regional office, and two school board members.
Arkansas – At Daisy Bates Elementary School in Little Rock, Arkansas first lady Ginger Beebe and Tennessee Titans free safety and former Arkansas Razorback George Wilson spoke to the students about the importance of school breakfast. District Child Nutrition Director Regena English and Principal Matt Mellor also shared how school breakfast has made a difference in the community.
North Dakota – Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber joined students at Valley Middle School in Grand Forks to celebrate National School Breakfast Week. Ben talked with more than 200 students about the importance of eating healthy and staying active. Grand Forks Mayor Michael R. Brown also attended the event and encouraged the students to start their day with breakfast every day.
Missouri – St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker kicked off National School Breakfast Week at Rockwood Valley Middle School in Glencoe. Johnny discussed the importance of school breakfast, as well as getting active for 60 minutes a day. Also at the event, students taste tested a new breakfast item — Fiesta Breakfast Swirl, as part of the “Breakfast Lab” innovation session.
Illinois – Former Chicago Bears defensive end Corey Wootton and former Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Morgan visited J S Morton High School in Cicero, Ill., to celebrate the importance of school breakfast. The celebration kicked off with a breakfast cheer from the school’s Pom Pom team. The event also included brief presentations from Illinois School Nutrition President Sandra Voss and Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry Coordinator Suzanne Lee who shared compelling information about the need for school breakfast and its correlation on achievement in school.
Iowa – Iowa Department of Education Director, Dr. Brad Buck, along with Chief of the Bureau of Nutrition & Health Services, Ann Feilmann, and Waukee School Nutrition Director, Jeannie Allgood, addressed the academic impact of consuming a delicious, nutritious breakfast as students participated in the new grab-n-go breakfast program at Waukee Community School District’s South Middle School on the way to their first class of the day. In addition to the school’s hot breakfast program, Waukee serves milk, cheese sticks, yogurt parfaits, cereal, muffins, hot breakfast sandwiches and more to up to 75 students each morning.
Nebraska – Nebraska wrapped up National School Breakfast Week with an event at Neihardt Elementary in Omaha. Nebraska’s first lady Sally Ganem, Roy Helu Jr., running back for the Washington Redskins and former University of Nebraska Cornhusker, and Hunger Free Heartland’s Andrew Bauer, spoke to students, faculty and staff on the importance of school breakfast. Prior to the assembly, students also taste-tested two new menu items, Blueberry Delight and Double Cheese Spirals, part of the “Breakfast Lab” program, at a free community breakfast sponsored by Hunger Free Heartland.
South Dakota – Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber joined special guest South Dakota Secretary of Education, Dr. Melody Schopp, for a breakfast event at Robert Bennis Elementary in Brandon. Two new recipes, the Fruity Flatbread and the Sunny Start Flatbread were displayed at the event as part of the “Breakfast Lab” project.
Hosting school breakfast events are a great way to encourage healthy eating habits, not just during National School Breakfast Week but throughout the year!