A grant program is bring breakfast to the classroom in Louisiana, and 9 other states from the Walmart Foundation.
The $7.5 million grant was awarded to Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom by the Walmart Foundation, supporting their efforts to enable and encourage children to start the day eating a nutritious meal.
School districts in Louisiana and the nine other states can apply for the grant money to pay for equipment, staff training, marketing, and short term food and nutrition staff necessary to start the program.
The Food Research & Action Center is a member of Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom. They estimate that almost half of the students who qualify for free school breakfast do not participate in the federally funded School Breakfast Program.
In Louisiana, the districts that apply will be selected based on the average participation in the School Breakfast Program, and the number of students who qualify for free or reduced price school meals.
There are a number of factors that may prevent students from participating in federally funded meal programs, especially breakfast, according to Debbie Meaux, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators. These include transportation issues that make them late to school, or fear of stigma. The stigma will be removed with the grant program because the free breakfasts will be given to all students without having to qualify on the basis of income.