Partners for Breakfast-in-the-Classroom: Thanks a Billion, Walmart!

The key to breakfast-in-the-classroom success is right there in the name of our initiative: partners. Collaboration, coalition-building, and stakeholder engagement are a variation on a theme we have explored time and again here at the Beyond Breakfast blog. The Partners for Breakfast-in-the-Classroom—Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation (NAESP Foundation), National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA HIN), and School Nutrition Foundation (that’s us!)—know that the best way to remove barriers to breakfast-in-the-classroom is by bringing all stakeholders together to find the solution that best fits each school.

None of this is possible without funding; funds are needed to cover start-up and implementation costs such as equipment, program promotion, outreach efforts to parents and the community, among others. The Partners for Breakfast-in-the-Classroom would like to take this opportunity to thank the Walmart Foundation, whose funding makes our work—technical assistance and support; coalition building between anti-hunger, health, nutrition, and education communities; training, and more—possible. That is why we were so delighted (but not at all surprised) to learn that in the fiscal year 2013, Walmart Foundation gave more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind donations—that’s one billion dollars donated in just one year. This is the first time Walmart—or any other U.S. retailer—has achieved that level of giving.

Thanks to the Walmart Foundation, Partners for Breakfast-in-the-Classroom received $8 million, which enabled us to expand breakfast-in-the-classroom in eight school districts across the nation: Charleston County (SC); Denver Public Schools (CO); Des Moines Public Schools (IA); Elgin School District U-46 (IL); Guilford County Schools (NC); Jefferson County Public Schools (KY); Kansas City Public Schools (KS); Knox County Schools (TN). These eight districts joined our original five districts—Dallas ISD (Dallas, TX), Little Rock (AR), Memphis City Schools (TN), Orange County Public Schools (FL), and Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD)—in the work of increasing access to, and participation in, the federally-funded School Breakfast Program, with the goal of reducing childhood hunger, and improving health and educational outcome for students.

People are getting the message about school breakfast—that it helps improve test scores and concentration, lowers tardies/absence rates, decreases risk of childhood obesity—and we want to thank the Walmart Foundation for providing us with the funds to help spread that message to schools, teachers, parents, and students across the country. As we like to say here at the School Nutrition Foundation—School breakfast is going to change the world!

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