Breakfast After the Bell Montana

Governor Bullock, First Lady Bullock, and Montana No Kid Hungry Campaign to Fight Childhood Hunger in Montana

What is ‘Breakfast after the Bell?’

Breakfast after the Bell is an initiative to fight childhood hunger in Montana led by Governor Bullock, First Lady Bullock, and Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. 

The goal of ‘Breakfast after the Bell’ is to increase participation in school breakfast programs. 

One in five children in Montana is hungry, and approximately three-quarters of teachers nationwide say that they have students who come to school hungry. We can’t expect our students to grow and learn when they’re worried about where they will get their next meal.

No child should be hungry in Montana. That’s why the Governor and First Lady Bullock are encouraging schools across the state to implement breakfast programs, or to switch to an alternative breakfast model that increases student participation. “Breakfast after the bell” refers to any evidence-based model that increases student participation in breakfast, such as breakfast in the classroom, grab n’ go breakfasts, or breakfast on the bus.

Why School Breakfast?

It’s simple.  School breakfast programs reduce childhood hunger, and research shows that students who eat school breakfast have increased attentiveness, improved behavior, higher attendance, and less sick and tardy days. These kids also have fewer disciplinary referrals.  In short, breakfast is important for ensuring the success of our students.

Right now, less than half of Montana kids who rely on free or reduced-priced lunches are also receiving breakfast. One of the reasons for this dismal breakfast participation rate is that traditional school breakfast models can be inconvenient to access and stigmatizing for children from low-income families.  

Research shows that serving food after school starts (“after the bell”) can dramatically increase breakfast participation. As a result, more kids are fed and ready to learn. Teachers and principals who have implemented breakfast after the bell say they’ve seen improvement in student behavior, and students who eat breakfast attend more school, score higher on tests, and are more likely to graduate. 

The 30 schools in Montana that have initiated breakfast after the bell programs have some of the highest participation rates in the state. Schools like Darby, Sidney, Fromberg Elementary, Corvallis High School, and many others are leaders in Montana.

What are Breakfast after the Bell mini-grants?

Often the only thing standing in the way of a school implementing a breakfast program—or switching to a breakfast model that increases student participation—is some money for startup costs.

That’s why Governor and First Lady Bullock are administering Breakfast after the Bell Mini-Grants to help schools with starting new breakfast programs or switching to an alternative model to increase participation rates. 

Grants will be disbursed in the amount of up to $5,000 per school, providing schools flexible funding for necessary start-up equipment costs (i.e.: additional coolers, refrigerators, waste cans, cleaning supplies, food carts, etc.), food, training and personnel needs, and incentivizing the transition to a more inclusive breakfast model.

To apply, visit: grants.nokidhungry.org and enter access code "MTBREAKFAST2014"

How can you help with Breakfast after the Bell? 

You can help feed thousands of Montana children by contributing to the Breakfast after the Bell grant fund. It costs only (up to) $5,000 per school to provide schools the resources they need to feed kids breakfast. 

To find out more information about Breakfast After the Bell mini-grants and the other resources available to support school breakfast program expansion in Montana, visit: http://mt.nokidhungry.org/school-breakfast-program