Governor Steve Bullock and First Lady Lisa Bullock today discussed opportunities to help address and ultimately end childhood hunger in Montana and across the country with actor and anti-childhood hunger activist Jeff Bridges. Bridges was a guest at the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) Annual Meeting in Whitefish, Montana hosted by Bullock, WGA Chairman.
“Not only is this a problem we can solve, but it’s a problem we must solve,” said First Lady Lisa Bullock. “Thousands of kids in Montana and millions across the country face the school day without the proper meals they need to learn and grow. We have a moral obligation as leaders of our states to ensure that every child who shows up for school is well-fed and ready to learn.”
“We have an economic obligation to prepare our communities for a brighter future. When kids are hungry, it has a severe and lasting impact on academic achievement, physical and mental health, family stability, and future self-sufficiency,” continued Governor Bullock.
Jeff Bridges succinctly summed up the importance of addressing childhood hunger across America: “How can we have a strong country if we have hungry kids?” he said, addressing the audience and panel of 9 Western governors.
Governor and First Lady Bullock shared with other Western governors their efforts to combat childhood hunger in Montana by encouraging schools to implement new breakfast programs or convert existing programs to alternative breakfast models that are proven to increase student participation through the Breakfast after the Bell initiative.
Since 2014, Governor and First Lady Bullock have partnered with Montana No Kid Hungry to award over $260,000 in private grant funding to 70 Montana schools. There are now more than 145 schools in Montana that have made breakfast part of the school day and Montana ranks in the top ten states for school breakfast participation.
Governor Bullock encouraged other Western governors to be involved on this issue and commit to ending childhood hunger in their states: “Feeding kids is a bipartisan issue. As governors, your state needs your support, leadership, and action to give kids the opportunity for a healthy and successful future.”
More information about No Kid Hungry and Montana’s efforts to end childhood hunger can be found at mt.nokidhungry.org.