WOODBURY, N.Y., March 22 The got breakfast?® Foundation last month awarded Memphis City Schools in Tennessee one of eight Silent Hero grants that recognize, encourage, and reward those silent heroes who help children by participating in the national School Breakfast Program. The $10,000 award will be used to implement its classroom breakfast program and to market the idea to secondary school administrators.
Currently at Hawkins Mill Elementary in Memphis, Tennessee, breakfasts are delivered to classrooms, on carts, by cafeteria staff. Students enjoy their breakfasts as announcements are read as they begin their day. "The grant will allow us to market to other schools, including secondary school administrators," says grant recipient Dr. Vista Suarez, Director, Child Nutrition, Memphis City Schools. "It's important to reach secondary students who often do not eat breakfast, so marketing materials that promote breakfast will be developed."
In October 2009, the Breakfast in Classroom (BIC) program began at Hawkins Mill Elementary. Letters about the program were sent out to parents and teachers, and the director of Nutrition Services spoke with parents and staff at a PTA meeting to introduce the program.
"We are pleased with the 35% increase in the number of students who are participating in the breakfast program," says Carla Franklin, Principal of Hawkins Mill Elementary. "We have noticed a decrease in the number of students who are tardy on a daily basis and our children are more attentive while the teachers are instructing because they have had an opportunity to socialize during breakfast."
"Our goal is to expand our marketing effort to all Memphis City Schools to participate in the Breakfast in Classroom program," explains Suarez. "Funding from this grant will create an opportunity for a mass marketing effort which will include the development of flyers and videos that can be shown and distributed throughout the district."
"We were impressed by the commitment of Memphis City Schools to spread the word to all its schools, including the secondary schools where kids are even less likely to start their day with a nutritious breakfast," says Sonya Kaster, R.D., L.D.N., S.N.S., Grant Administrator for the Silent Hero Program.
All eight of the Silent Hero grant winners will be implementing breakfast in the classroom. According to the Food Research and Action Center's School Breakfast Scorecard for 2008-2009, districts using breakfast in the classroom have the highest participation rates.
The got breakfast? Foundation received many applications representing school districts from 33 different states requesting more than $2 million in funding. The winners were each awarded a grant ranging from $2,500 to $10,000.
The Silent Hero Grant Program was created to encourage schools and non-profit organizations to expand the reach of underutilized child nutrition programs, most notably the School Breakfast Program. While 19 million low income children participate in the National School Lunch Program each day, only 9 million participate in the School Breakfast Program.
"We launched the Silent Hero Grant Program in the hopes of it acting as a catalyst for schools to give classroom and/or alternate site breakfast a try," says Kaster. "I think the number of proposals we received is indicative of the untapped potential that can make a difference in the lives of hungry school children."
The got breakfast?® Foundation also recently announced a Summer Meals Grant Program that will support breakfast programs during the summer months.
For information about the got breakfast? Silent Hero Grant Program contact [email protected]
or visit the www.gotbreakfast.org website.
SOURCE got breakfast? Foundation