September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund has partnered with Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Midwest Dairy Association to give schools in 52 communities across the state each a $10,000 Super School Breakfast grant during the 52 weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. The grant provides carts to allow students an easy-to-grab breakfast to start their day. It serves items such as milk, fruit and yogurt smoothies, and fresh fruit among other health-conscious breakfast items.
Willow Creek Middle School in Rochester, Minn., received one of the first grants and kicked off the campaign with an event Feb. 15 during the school's breakfast hours. It featured a milk toast with Ardell Brede, Rochester mayor; Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County Sherriff; Michael Muñoz, Rochester school district superintendent; Lucas Lentsch, Midwest Dairy Association CEO; and three area dairy farmers: Jeannette Sheehan, from Rochester, Minn., Dana Allen-Tully from Eyota, Minn., and Shelly DePestel from Lewiston, Minn.
"I'm thrilled to not only be a part of the Midwest Dairy Association, but the leadership the dairy farmers and dairy farm families are showing in holding up the value of what breakfast in the classroom, grab-and-go breakfast or even second chance breakfast mean. If you fuel up your energy for the day, your learning is that much better. I love being part of the stewardship," Lentsch said.
Dana Nelson, vice president of community and legacy partnerships for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee said the breakfast carts help cater to the changing way in which students eat their first meal.
"It's grab and go. They will take what they choose for breakfast and they'll take it to eat in the classroom," she said. "Normally breakfast is served in the cafeteria. On a typical morning kids are hustling to get to where they need to be and there's not enough time to eat breakfast. They get into the cafeteria and it's rush, rush, rush. The schools found they were throwing away so much more food or kids just weren't eating breakfast."
Lentsch said the number of students not eating breakfast totaled up to 60 percent. Muñoz didn't want students in the Rochester school district to be at a disadvantage before school even started.
"Anytime students try to sit in a classroom to focus on learning and they're hungry they just won't do it. Giving them a healthy breakfast starts their day off and that's going to allow them to learn and be successful in the classroom," Muñoz said.
Bringing breakfast out of the cafeteria and offering it on the carts has helped students get the energy they need.
"When we started putting breakfast on a cart and making it easier to access, we saw a huge increase in the number of students eating breakfast," Muñoz said. "It really has had an impact on the kids that eat breakfast with us."
Nelson hopes the impact will help many other students across the state, too.
"The Super Bowl will be played Feb. 4 of 2018, so what we're excited about is much beyond the big game," Nelson said. "It's about speed, efficiency and what works for each school, and what the kids and teachers want. We want to allow for maximum flexibility for the schools because this is about 10 years down the road, not the Super Bowl. Ultimately, it's about the kids eating breakfast."[[In-content Ad]]