To recognize National School Breakfast Week, our CEO, Alexis Glick and Maureen Bausch, Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee co-authored an op-ed piece in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Read on to learn more!
Super Bowl LI is officially in the record books, and now the spotlight turns to Minnesota. And as we count down the the remaining 48 weeks until the kickoff at Super Bowl LII, there is an unprecedented opportunity to make this celebrated occasion bigger than game day by providing Minnesota’s youth with a Super School Breakfast to start their day.
More than 18 months ago, GENYOUth and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee came together to start a conversation about how the Super Bowl could leave a lasting and positive legacy for Minnesota’s kids. Together, we convened a group of leaders in education and health who are committed to supporting the expansion of school breakfast across the state. Why? Because it’s vitally important to our youth’s ability to learn, thrive and lead a healthy lifestyle.
As we celebrate National School Breakfast week (March 6-10), there is perhaps no better time to articulate why a healthy breakfast makes such an impact on the success of our students. We mark the occasion with a Super School Breakfast celebration at Adams Spanish Immersion School in St. Paul.
Studies consistently show that a healthy breakfast fuels improved cognitive function, and that student math and reading scores improve when breakfast is moved into the classroom. Students who participate in school breakfast also show improved attendance and behavior and decreased tardiness.
Yet another national statistic drives home how crucial school breakfast is. More than one out of six children, or about 13.1 million Americans under age 18, live in food-insecure households where families don’t have consistent access to adequate food, because of lack of money and other resources. For students from food-insecure families, school meal programs are a lifeline — and can represent the only adequate meals they get on some days.
Today in Minnesota, the Food Research & Action Center reports that more than 140,000 students who are eligible for free- and reduced-price school meals take advantage of lunch — but not breakfast. The report further notes that Minnesota currently ranks 44th out of 50 states in offering school breakfast.
On the national level, only half of U.S. kids who get free- or reduced-price lunch get school breakfast, even though they’re eligible. Nationally, it’s projected that if the breakfast participation rate were even 70 percent of the lunch rate, an additional 3.4 million American children would be served — many of those, obviously, right here in the Bold North.
The good news is that achieving a higher participation rate is not expensive. The United States Department of Agriculture, which determines school breakfast pricing, reports that for less than $2 per student, we can provide a nutritious breakfast for children to start a productive day in school.
Our commitment to the Bold North is long term. By the time Super Bowl LII takes place in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, 2018, we hope to say that school breakfast participation has increased significantly in Minnesota. Over the 52 weeks between this year’s Super Bowl and next year’s, Minnesota’s Super Bowl Host Committee will be leading an ambitious campaign to see that $10,000 will be awarded to schools in 52 communities, to fund vital equipment and infrastructure needs, to provide an enhanced and sustainable breakfast program for all of their students.
Our Super School Breakfast-in-the-Classroom initiative launched in Rochester in the days following Super Bowl LI. This would not have been possible without the tremendous support of GENYOUth and its flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60, the nation’s largest in-school health and wellness initiative that is dedicated to kids eating better and moving more in schools across Minnesota. Working side by side with these 52 communities, together, we have helped select eligible schools with a high-need-based population to receive $10K in equipment grants on a weekly basis. This Super year is made possible with the support of Midwest Dairy Association, the Minnesota Vikings, General Mills and other valued partners who understand that, for many kids, healthy habits start at school — including a healthy breakfast.
Super Bowl LII has the potential to be not just a game for the ages, but a sustainable, powerful movement long after that game is done, to make certain that breakfast in schools can be provided to all students, regardless of their economic circumstances.
To learn more about our Super School Breakfast program, or how you can support the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s efforts to leave a lasting legacy long after the game, go to www.mnsuperbowl.com/legacy.
Alexis Glick is CEO of GENYOUth and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maureen Bausch is CEO of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee and can be reached at email@example.com.