March is 'School Breakfast Month' in Arkansas
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Better health and educational outcomes are being touted as Arkansans recognize March as School Breakfast Month.
Research has proven providing students breakfast at school can lead to better attendance, fewer trips to the school nurse, and improved classroom attention and behavior. One in five children faces hunger in Arkansas.
Patti Barker, campaign director for the No Kid Hungry Campaign at the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, said breakfast is still the most important meal of the day, especially for at-risk students. Barker noted the alliance has partnered for a decade with other advocacy groups who want to improve options for kids.
"Our goal is to make sure kids have access to the good nutrition they need every day all year round, whether they're in school or out of school or at home," Barker explained. "The best way to access that good nutrition at school is to make sure those kids or eating both school breakfast and lunch. "
Barker pointed out the USDA's School Breakfast Program also plays a role in ensuring all Arkansas students are healthy, active, and ready to learn every day, helping them thrive.
Vivian Nicholson, breakfast program director for the No Kid Hungry Campaign is encouraging school districts to sign up for the "DIG IN-to School Breakfast" challenge, which includes increasing kids' participation in school breakfast and creating the most innovative breakfast promotion using social media.
"[A] third category is new innovative breakfast items, new items that engage kids to come and eat breakfast," Nicholson outlined. "We use examples of smoothies or yogurt parfait, Apple nachos, and sliced apples with yogurt and granola on top."
Nicholson added they will collect recipes and participating school districts will have a chance to win prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500. She added there are also grants programs in place to provide breakfast throughout the school day to kids who need it, not just in the cafeteria before the bell rings.
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Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness