FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 15, 2015
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Lisa Lee, Director, Montana No Kid Hungry, 444-3518
HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced that the Montana No Kid Hungry campaign has been awarded a $237,000 grant from Share Our Strength to bolster efforts to combat childhood hunger in Montana. This is a substantial increase from the previous $100,000 yearly grant that the campaign had received. Through this grant, the campaign will expand participation in school breakfast, summer meal, and afterschool meal programs throughout the state, with a particular focus on Billings, Kalispell, Great Falls, and Browning. The funds will also be used to expand staff capacity and develop resources that are available to families struggling with food insecurity.
“Childhood hunger is a solvable problem. Giving Montana children every opportunity to succeed starts with ensuring they never have to worry about where their next meal comes from,” Bullock said. “This award from Share Our Strength will allow us to bolster our efforts to ensure that no child goes hungry.”
As a condition of the grant, the Montana No Kid Hungry campaign must raise matching funds. The organization has already made significant progress toward that goal through funds raised by the Round It Up Montana program, private donations from businesses such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, and a grant awarded to operate the Montana No Kid Hungry AmeriCorps Program.
Governor Bullock and First Lady Lisa Bullock have made it a priority to combat childhood hunger in the state. They’re working with schools to improve access to food by promoting participation in the “Breakfast After the Bell” program, which encourages schools to incorporate breakfast as part of the school day. The Bullocks, through the Montana No Kid Hungry campaign, have awarded $115,000 to Montana schools in this past year to start new breakfast programs or expand participation in existing programs. Data from the Office of Public Instruction shows that 41,000 more Montana kids now start every school day with a healthy breakfast at school than when Governor Bullock took office in 2013.
In Montana, it is estimated that one in five kids struggle with food insecurity. Studies show that, children who face food insecurity are more likely to have poor physical health, increased absenteeism from school, and lower academic performance.