Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards announced the No Kid Hungry Louisiana initiative and School Breakfast Challenge to help reduce childhood hunger in the state. The launch took place at Wildwood Elementary School in East Baton Rouge Parish.
“Donna and I are very excited to kick-off this initiative and shine a light on a very serious problem impacting thousands of children across Louisiana,” said Gov. Edwards. “One in four children in Louisiana struggles with hunger and we have the second highest food insecurity in the nation. The need in our state is great, but I know we have the resources and capacity to meet that need. I commend schools around the state for doing their part in taking better care of our children and ensuring that they get a healthy start to the day and life.”
“As a former teacher, I have seen first-hand what can happen when children attend school without having enough to eat,” said First Lady Donna Edwards. “It impacts them in many ways. When kids get regular healthy meals they do better on tests, have fewer discipline and health problems and are more likely to graduate from high school. This is a solvable problem, and we are proud to work with partners from the corporate, government and nonprofit worlds to launch the Louisiana Breakfast Challenge across the state.”
The United States Department of Agriculture reported in 2014 that nearly 272,760 children continue to suffer from childhood hunger in Louisiana. This initiative will raise awareness of this serious problem and engage public and private stakeholders, school administrators, teachers, parents and students across the state.
The No Kid Hungry program started in Orleans Parish and has been very successful. The goal is to build on that success statewide.
“Since 2010, the No Kid Hungry Campaign has been working with schools in Orleans Parish to switch from traditional school breakfast programs to new school breakfast models that make it easier for students to start the day with a healthy meal,” said Rhonda M. Jackson, No Kid Hungry Louisiana director. “So far, there has been a 60 percent increase in school breakfast participation rates with 9,650 more kids eating breakfast in Orleans Parish, and we are looking forward to expanding this work across the state so more of our kids can get a healthy start each school day.”
All K-12 schools in Louisiana are encouraged to sign up for the Louisiana School Breakfast Challenge. Not only will the students receive a healthy and balanced breakfast, but all schools will be recognized for their participation, and there will be great prizes, including cash for the winning schools! Click here to register online and learn more.