In the most recent edition of SEEN magazine, we focused on childhood hunger and how it affects education and our community. Here’s how Louisiana and No Kid Hungry are partnering to raise awareness and provide solutions to childhood hunger.
On September 21, 2017, Governor John Bel Edwards announced the official launch of Louisiana’s No Kid Hungry Initiative. The following is a note from the Governor: “Fighting for Louisiana’s families is really the foundation of my administration. It’s why I expanded Medicaid so that over 430,000 of Louisiana’s working poor could have access to the care they need. It’s why we elevated the importance of the Children’s Cabinet to ensure that the needs of our children are continuously being responded to. And it’s why I will continue to be a vocal supporter of equal pay and raising the minimum wage.
Even as we continue to expand opportunities for families, 1 in 4 Louisiana children remain in poverty, and it’s estimated that over 270,000 children suffer from hunger in Louisiana every year. Eliminating childhood hunger may sound like a bold initiative, but it is an achievable one. That is why my administration has launched the No Kid Hungry Louisiana Campaign.Working in partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign and a coalition of state agencies and community-based organizations, No Kid Hungry Louisiana will take an active role in ensuring every child has access to the nutrition they need to grow from healthy happy children to productive members of our communities. This initiative, led by my Children’s Cabinet, will seek to strongly encourage superintendents and school principals to adopt the Community Eligibility Provision so that every child, regardless of income, can eat school breakfast and lunch without cost and without completing an application. We will also encourage food nutrition departments to increase their average daily breakfast participation. We will seek to achieve this goal through launching a School Breakfast Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to make sure no student misses out on our most important meal of the day.
Providing children breakfast at school is not only a proven strategy for combating childhood hunger it also boots academic achievement and attendance. Unfortunately, many students from low-income families don’t get the proper nutrition to start their day. Even when breakfast is offered in the school cafeteria, it is often served before they arrive or they fear the stigma of eating alone. What the Breakfast Challenge does is encourage schools to make breakfast part of the typical school day by serving it in the classroom or through grab and go style carts. Schools that implement alternative breakfast models helps to provide child with a sense of comfort and confidence where they are not consumed with thoughts of where their next meal will come from because every student is able to start the day off on equal footing with a nutritious breakfast in their classroom. Breakfast in the classroom and other alternative breakfast options are a prime model for what we should be striving for in every school throughout Louisiana. My administration understands that our children are the future of this state, and we take that responsibility very seriously. With the launch of No Kid Hungry Louisiana and the Breakfast Challenge, we are taking big steps to not only end child hunger but also build a healthier tomorrow for this great state and our people.”
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