News

October 31, 2013

Lutherans Agree: Breakfast Most Important Meal of the Day

LAMPa is working with the Pa. Department of Education, local businesses and other anti-hunger organizations across the state to launch the first-ever School Breakfast Challenge in Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett are co-chairs of this initiative, making it a priority to ensure all students start their day off right.

 Schools that participate in the Pennsylvania School Breakfast Challenge can receive technical assistance and equipment to improve their breakfast programs. Schools that achieve the largest gains in breakfast participation will receive awards—cash and other prizes when the challenge ends in the spring of 2014.

LAMPa invited special guests The Rev. Bruce Osterhout of Christ-St. Luke Partnership Parish in Reading and the Rev. Eileen Smith Le Van, Northeast Pennsylvania Synod Hunger Leader and pastor at Nativity in Reading, who in turn joined Chris Rodriguez, Reading School District food services supervisor, for a School Breakfast Summit at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg on Oct. 17.

Osterhout and Smith Le Van are working with LAMPa to expand participation in school breakfast — an extension of their work to battle hunger in the Commonwealth.  Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania children start the school day without the nutrition they need to learn.

“Without adequate nutrition for the students, even the best educational system is ineffective,” said Smith Le Van.  “In Reading, only 30% of our students participate in the school breakfast program, while 90% of them are eligible for free or reduced cost meals. We need to find a creative way to give all of our students the healthy meal they need to start their day.”

The two pastors attended to provide community support for the efforts to promote school breakfast in Reading, one of the poorest districts in the country and the third largest in the state.

The summit kicked off the Pennsylvania School Breakfast Challenge, in which school districts are invited to increase the number of students receiving school breakfast.  Districts will compete for cash awards.  Any district may register for the challenge. 

Lutherans around the state are reaching out to their school districts to see how they might support local schools in the challenge. 

If your school is interested in participating in the School Breakfast Challenge, they can  register online.

Important Dates:

  • December 20, 2013: Registration deadline for schools and districts to sign up for the Challenge. Schools that enter by Nov. 25, 2013 will be entered into a raffle for 4 NFL tickets in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.
  • January 2014: Challenge Kickoff. Participating schools start the Challenge by implementing improvements to their breakfast program. Schools can receive free technical assistance and equipment to help them with this process.
  • May 2014: Awards Presentation. Schools with the largest increases in breakfast participation during the Challenge will receive cash prizes and other awards, including appearances at their schools by NFL football players.

To learn more about best practices in expanding school breakfast and to register for the challenge, visit www.paschoolbreakfast.org.  For other resources and assistance in approaching your school district, contact LAMPa at 717-545-3500 or visit the website at www.lutheranadvocacypa.org.

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