THI in Dallas | National School Breakfast Week

As part of National School Breakfast week, Texas Hunger Initiative partnered up with Dallas Independent School District along with a few other organizations to talk about the importance of breakfast. Often regarded as the most important meal of the day, we believe (and studies prove) that children who eat breakfast are more attentive in the classroom and display an increase in participation.

Why eat a proper breakfast anyway?

Breakfast is a great way to give the body the refueling it needs. Kids who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier overall and are more likely to participate in physical activities — two great ways to help maintain a healthy weight.

Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless, or irritable. In the morning, their bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. Their mood and energy can drop by midmorning if they don’t eat at least a small morning meal.

Breakfast also can help keep kids’ weight in check. Breakfast kick-starts the body’s metabolism, the process by which the body converts the fuel in food to energy. And when the metabolism gets moving, the body starts burning calories.

Also, people who don’t eat breakfast often consume more calories throughout the day and are more likely to be overweight. That’s because someone who skips breakfast is likely to get famished before lunchtime and snack on high-calorie foods or overeat at lunch.

Mary L. Gavin, MD, KidsHealth.org

After reading this entry, its apparent that numerous health benefits as a result of breakfast  have made various positive impacts in children, however getting them to eat breakfast will take more than throwing statistics in their face. It starts in the classroom, that is why Texas Hunger Initiative has informed many school districts about the benefits of serving students Breakfast in the Classroom.

For more information about Breakfast in the Classroom visit USDA’s website or contact Katie Yocham, Texas Hunger Initiative’s Breakfast in the Classroom Coordinator

THI in Austin | Texas Food Policy Roundtable

Recently THI visited Austin for the The Texas Food Policy Roundtable (TFPR).

What is the Texas Food Policy Roundtable?

It is a broadly based group of Texas leaders who have joined forces to develop, coordinate, and improve the implementation of food policy to address hunger and promote equitable, sustainable, and healthy food in Texas. The roundtable will focus on four areas of food policy:

  • Improving access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) to prevent hunger and help Texas families afford a nutritious diet;
  • Increasing participation in the Summer Food Programs so that children in Texas continue to learn and grow when school is out;
  • Promoting policy solutions to increase nutrition, reduce and prevent obesity; and creating a local, sustainable, and accessible food system for all Texans.

Overall it was a successful meeting that focused on a variety of topics. One of the first items on the agenda was SNAP outreach in Texas. It is a on-going concern that people are not registering for SNAP benefits that are in-fact eligible. One of the solutions that was presented was training volunteers to assist with registering potential applicants and additionally informing the public of SNAP benefits.

Another item on the agenda was Summer.

The summer months are an enjoyable experience for most, however for the families experiencing poverty “Hunger doesn’t take a vacation.” Many children below the poverty line receive free or reduced price lunches in school cafeterias, but what happens when school is no longer in session. Kids will not have access to the cafeteria for Lunch (and sometimes Breakfast) therefore the Summer Meals Food Service Program provides food assistance for children K-12 during the summer when they are out of school. Texas Hunger Initiative believes strongly in the need for all children to have access to eating a healthy/balanced meal. By supporting Summer Meals, children all over the state can go to various sites in their community to eat a proper meal when school is out.

THI in Houston | Children at Risk

Two of our VISTA’s traveled down to Houston this past week as co-sponsors to the “Ending Child Food Insecurity” Luncheon on Wednesday March 7th at the Houston Food Bank.

Kick-starting the event were presentations given by Dr. Bob Sanborn, President and CEO of Children at Risk as well as Brian Greene, the President/CEO of the Houston Food Bank. Later on we had Dr. Claire Bocchini the President of Doctors for Change and Brian Giles a Senior Administrator for HISD food services.

Dr. Claire Bocchini also emphasized the importance of physical education in the school districts. Many teachers and parents complain that increasing the amount of time students spend exercising takes away time from the classroom. however Dr. Bocchini explained that studies have shown that children that exercise 30 minutes to an hour each day will be more attentive and focused in class.

Concluding the luncheon was Representative Carol Alvarado of District 145.

The purpose of this luncheon was addressing a key issue of Child Food Insecurity in Houston. It is important to realize that Food Banks are the last resort when it comes to providing aid towards children facing hunger. They are the last possible safety net when no other options are available. They merely provide aid and assistance to those facing hunger and provide a temporary solution to an on-going problem. This luncheon stressed the importance of SNAP outreach in the communities and providing more meals during the school day to prevent children from facing hunger at home or on the weekends.