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“Breakfast in the Council” Celebrates D.C. for its #1 Ranking for School Breakfast Participation Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, FRAC President Jim Weill Join D.C. Hunger Solutions to Commemorate Achievement
Washington, D.C. –February 21, 2012 – Schoolchildren, advocates, city leaders, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon celebrated the District of Columbia’s success in achieving its top ranking in reaching the most low-income children with breakfast with “Breakfast in the Council” at the D.C. Council. D.C. Hunger Solutions and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) presented councilmembers with awards to mark the achievement, which was largely driven by the District’s successful implementation of the Healthy Schools Act.
D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh presents U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon with a
ceremonial resolution to celebrate D.C.’s number one ranking in reaching the most low-income children with school breakfast.
The Act, passed by the D.C. Council in May 2010, supported a widespread implementation of breakfast in the classroom. As a result, participation among low-income children soared. According to the School Breakfast Scorecard, an annual report released by FRAC, 64 low-income Washington, D.C. children ate breakfast for every 100 that also ate lunch during the 2010-2011 school year – a 32 percent increase from the prior school year when only 48 out of 100 were reached. This increase moved D.C. from ranking 20th to ranking first in the nation, and put breakfast in the hands of an additional 5,776 low-income children and teens each day.
“Breakfast in the classroom works. More D.C. students are starting the day with a healthy morning meal, ensuring they are fueled up for a day of learning,” said D.C. Hunger Solutions Director Alex Ashbrook. “This leap in the number of children eating breakfast is a testimony to the leadership displayed by the D.C. Council in passing this extraordinary bill and the commitment of school officials to making it a success. We’re proud to be number one in the nation for serving breakfast to low-income children.”
To show the successful breakfast program in action, students from Kimball Elementary delivered a school breakfast to all Councilmembers in the Chairman’s Conference Room, as well as to staffers in several offices through the building. The students then joined Kimball Elementary Principal Shel’a West-Miller and Center City Public Charter Schools CEO Beverly Wheeler for the ceremonial presentation, held before the Committee as a Whole Meeting. Also in attendance were representatives from the Division of Food and Nutrition Services at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education; Food & Nutrition Services at D.C. Public Schools; D.C. Central Kitchen; and the D.C. Farm to School Network.
“Participation in the School Breakfast Program is an important vehicle to meet the nutritional needs of children," said Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “We commend the District of Columbia’s commitment to provide more schoolchildren with healthy, well-balanced breakfasts to prepare them for a productive school day.”
“FRAC’s research shows that when cities and states make breakfast a priority and get it out of the cafeteria, participation grows by leaps and bounds,” said FRAC President Jim Weill during the ceremonial presentation. “This truly was a city-wide effort to get this important meal to more low-income children, and we’ll see less hunger and improved nutrition as a result.”
D.C. Hunger Solutions – in partnership with the D.C. Farm to School Network and the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Wellness and Nutrition Services – hosted workshops for school administrators and staff to acquaint them with the Healthy Schools Act. With its “Free Breakfast – That’s What’s Up” Campaign, D.C. Hunger Solutions provided schools with posters, magnets, lawn signs, and other promotional materials to encourage students to participate in free school breakfast. It also launched a website dedicated to the Act, providing details on the legislation and highlighting successful ways schools are implementing its provisions.