Hunger Is Fundraiser all Month at Safeway

September 19, 2019, 4:45 PM HST (Updated September 19, 2019, 4:28 PM)
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Eating a healthy meal in the morning enhances students’ academic performance and their ability to focus on learning in the classroom.
PC: Department of Education

Safeway is spending the month of September raising money for the annual Hunger Is fundraiser, which is sponsored by the Safeway Foundation with the support of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

When customers checkout with the cashier, they’ll have the option to make a donation to Hawai‘i Appleseed Center, which fights to end hunger in the state. Appleseed will use donations exclusively to combat childhood hunger in Hawai‘i by improving the state’s school breakfast participation rate, according to an Appleseed press release.

“Less than 40% of Hawai‘i students who receive free or reduced-cost school lunches also receive breakfast at school, making Hawai‘i 50th in the nation for participation in this important program,” said Hawai‘i Appleseed Center Director of Anti-Hunger Initiatives Daniela Kittinger. “School breakfast has powerful benefits to both physical health and mental growth, with cascading effects on our society at large.”

A hungry child can’t learn, the release said. Many of Hawai‘i’s families can’t afford to provide their children with a healthy breakfast every morning. Even families that are financially stable often have such busy schedules that they find it challenging to sit down with their children for a good breakfast in the morning, even though students who skip breakfast have a harder time learning. That’s why Hawai‘i Appleseed Center is committed to improving the rate of participation among students experiencing food insecurity.

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In West Virginia, the top-ranked state, more than 80% of students involved in free and reduced-cost lunch programs also participate in breakfast programs. If the entire state of Hawai‘i were to raise the school breakfast participation rate to 70%, almost 17,000 more keiki would benefit from school breakfast, and Hawai‘i would get nearly $7 million per year in additional federal funds.

These efforts have already resulted in some progress, the release said. Last year, thanks to efforts spearheaded by Hawai‘i’s First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige and the Hawai‘i Department of Education, schools across the islands piloted Breakfast After the Bell models. These flexible, customizable models make sure that kids get a healthy meal before they start class in a way that works for them, even if they are rushed for time. This year, the leadership team plans to expand the adoption of these models to 40 additional schools in high-need communities.

Part of the project also involves plans to prioritize the voices of students through video and recipe competitions, and by recruiting young people to serve on an advisory board.

A charitable program of the Safeway Foundation, the Hunger Is campaign builds awareness and raises funds in an effort to eradicate childhood hunger in America. Funds raised through Hunger Is focus on adding breakfasts in and out of school through federal nutrition programs and other means focused on combatting childhood hunger and improving other health-related outcomes. The Hunger Is campaign will run the entire month of September at all 22 Safeway stores in Hawai‘i.

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