When I was a kid, my mom used to tell us to eat our breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day. Well here we are decades later and there are studies that prove kids who aren’t hungry perform much better scholastically. In fact, a recent study from the Food Research and Action Center shows that classroom behavior improves, the number of school tardies is reduced and test scores increase when children eat breakfast. Here in Dallas we’ve made great strides to make it easier for kids to eat a healthy breakfast by making school breakfast available in the classroom in over 60 schools.
On March 8, I attended Dallas Independent School District’s Breakfast in the Classroom “Go for the Gold” event at Charles Rice Learning Center in Dallas during School Breakfast Week. Federal, state and community partners from many organizations such as DairyMAX and Texas Hunger Initiative all gathered to congratulate the district on innovative strategies increasing participation in the School Breakfast Program.
The school highlighted a campaign entitled “Go For the Gold: Achieve with Breakfast in the Classroom,” challenging students to show and write how “Breakfast in the Classroom Helps Them Achieve.” The writing/art contest winners were awarded gold medals for their efforts, and then the kids gave the partners and officials gold medals of our own for being breakfast champions. It warmed my heart to see how appreciative everyone was. We even had a milk toast celebrating the school’s accomplishments. I was also able to sample some of the delicious breakfasts the kids eat every day. After the ceremony, we went to the library and heard testimonials of how eating healthy has helped children to become better students.
Charles Rice Learning Center is an ideal example of how working together benefits student health and academic achievement. Since participating in Breakfast in the Classroom, the school found ways to involve students and parents alike. They even started weekly cooking classes for parents to provide dinners to students in addition to the traditional breakfast and lunch offerings. The School is also a HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award winner which means it has met rigorous standards for offering healthy foods and encouraging physical activity.
With such dedicated efforts to feed more children healthy meals, we are slowly eliminating food insecurity. With Texas as the fifth highest food insecure state in the nation, Dallas is paving the way and setting a great example. I am proud to be part of such an initiative that is working hard to end hunger in Texas, and around the country.