Celebrating School Breakfast Month 2023
To honor our hardworking child nutrition teams and school staffs, the Alliance is pleased to kick off our annual month-long celebration.
This year, we encouraged school districts to participate in the Arkansas School Breakfast Month Challenge in one or more of these award categories: Most innovative breakfast promotion, most popular or creative breakfast food, and largest breakfast participation increase. Participating schools were eligible to win dollars for their child nutrition programs. Prizes for winning districts’ child nutrition departments were provided by the VCC Cares Foundation. We appreciate our partners at the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Child Nutrition Unit and the Arkansas School Nutrition Association for their support. We also thank this year’s School Breakfast Challenge sponsor, VCC Cares Foundation, as we asked school districts across the state to “DIG IN-to School Breakfast.”
Winners of the 2023 School Breakfast Month Challenge are:
Most Innovative Breakfast Promotion:
First Prize: Drew Central School District
Second Prize: Arkansas School for the Blind
Third Prize (tie): North Little Rock School District and Hermitage School District
Most Popular or Creative Breakfast Food:
First Prize: Hermitage School District (Build Your Own: Biscuit or Parfait)
Second Prize: Lonoke School District (Green Eggs & Ham)
Third Prize: E-Stem School (Blueberry Muffin & Smoothie)
Largest Breakfast Participation Increase
First Prize: Van Buren School District
Second Prize: North Little Rock School District
Third Prize: Paris School District
School Breakfast Month Kickoff from Barbara Cole, Arkansas School for the Blind Child Nutrition Director
School Breakfast Month Highlights
For over a decade, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance has requested the support of the Governor’s office and key child health and education advocates to celebrate March as School Breakfast Month to highlight the role that the USDA’s School Breakfast Program plays in ensuring that all Arkansas students are healthy, active, and ready to learn every day so they can thrive.
We thank Governor Sarah Sanders for proclaiming March as School Breakfast Month and thank our partners at the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Child Nutrition Unit and the Arkansas School Nutrition Association for their support. We also thank this year’s School Breakfast Challenge sponsor, VCC Cares Foundation, as we encourage school districts across the state to “DIG IN-to School Breakfast” and participate in the Challenge in one or more of these award categories, with these prize amounts to go to the winning districts’ child nutrition departments: First-$1,500, Second-$1,000, Third-$500 in each of the 3 categories:
1. Most innovative breakfast promotion
2. Most popular or creative breakfast food (with recipe)
3. Largest breakfast participation increase (comparing February 2023 to March 2023)
Challenge winners to be announced in April, contact Vivian Nicholson, Vnicholson@arhungeralliance.org to participate.
Help us celebrate School Breakfast Month! Remember, BREAKFAST = SUCCESS!
According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), school breakfast leads to reduced food insecurity, improved student health, and better attendance and behavior in the classroom.
Breakfast After the Bell programs, which make breakfast part of the school day, have been shown to be effective ways of ensuring more students realize the benefits of breakfast. According to the AR Department of Education, since Breakfast After the Bell programs were introduced in Arkansas schools in the 2011-2012 school year, the number of breakfast meals served to students has increased by a whopping 7.3 million, more than 27 percent! And according to FRAC, during the 2020-2021 school year, the rate of low-income Arkansas students participating in school breakfast compared to lunch increased to 73.6 percent, exceeding the long-time goal of 70 percent breakfast/lunch participation, due in part to the implementation of school meal delivery best practices such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Second Chance Breakfast, and Grab and Go Breakfast.
Even though schools have remained open for the majority of the last two school years, school nutrition programs continue to struggle with multiple meal delivery challenges, staffing shortages, and supply chain limitations. Nonetheless, child nutrition workers across Arkansas continue to rise to the challenge, utilizing innovative best practices honed during the pandemic while school nutrition staff adopted USDA meal delivery flexibilities to deliver much-needed meals to their students, whether in the classroom, in reconfigured school dining areas, via grab and go meal boxes and more.
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