As schools across the country observed National School Breakfast Week, Denton’s Hodge Elementary School was in the national spotlight for its efforts to promote starting the day off with a healthy breakfast.
In the days leading up to School Breakfast Week, food company Kellogg Co. released a nearly two-minute video on www.shareyourbreakfast.com that offers viewers a glimpse into the breakfast program at Hodge and its impact on students and families. For every time the video is shared, Kellogg’s and Action for Healthy Kids intend to donate a breakfast — up to 1 million — to children across the country who might go without.
According to Kellogg’s officials, 1 in 5 children go without breakfast daily.
On Thursday, Hodge Principal Sam Kelley spoke at Kellogg’s “Share Your Breakfast” campaign rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and said she intended to share a message about the breakfast initiative at Hodge that she hopes educates, empowers and gives hope to others.
Last school year, 160 children were eating breakfast daily in the Hodge cafeteria.
Now that number has grown to 350 students, school officials say.
According to Denton school district officials, Hodge has been awarded more than $4,500 in grants from Kellogg’s and Action for Healthy Kids to increase student and staff participation in eating breakfasts.
Students interviewed at Hodge last fall said starting the day with breakfast helps them concentrate in class and have energy for the day. One parent said it also led her children to make healthier choices.
If it can be done at Hodge, Kelley said, “it can be done at every school. If families and kids can be successful here at Hodge, if that somehow sparks something somewhere, then I’m glad with the spotlight.”
Kelley and school nurse Sam Teel were also slated to be recognized for efforts in promoting a healthy lifestyle at Hodge, district officials said.
Hodge Elementary started School Breakfast Week on Monday with a kickoff event featuring University of North Texas cheerleaders and athletes and a fun run at recess.
That evening, the school had its second annual Healthy Family Night. About 30 parents and students attended the health fair, which included representatives from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton, the American Red Cross, CCD Counseling PA and others. A representative from Cook Children’s Health Care System led a presentation on bringing families back to the dinner table.
Various tables at the fair also offered fresh fruit, water, smoothies, brochures and cookbooks. Activities were also provided for children in the school gymnasium.
Kelley said that although the turnout wasn’t as large as the more than 250 attendees who participated last year, “if it changes one thing for one family, then it’s well worth it.” The idea of the program, she said, is to educate families and offer information to help their children have productive lives.
“I think any time you empower people, whether it’s adults or children, I think that that has a positive impact, period,” she said. “The No. 1 purpose really is to continue building and strengthening the branch between home and school.”
Stephanie McDonald, mother to two children who attend Hodge Elementary, said that for families trying to make health changes and improvements, the event was a great opportunity to learn. She also enjoyed that her kindergartner had an opportunity to learn CPR basics.
Stacy Madden is a physical education teacher at Nelson Elementary School. She said she heard about the event and thought it would be something she could enjoy with her children. Madden said the fair was the perfect size.
“We got a ton of informational stuff,” she said. “It was just all around awesome.”
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .