What a month it’s been! At CR Anderson Middle School, we’ve started a new Grab’n’ Go breakfast program. Before the program started, we served about 100 breakfasts per day… with the new program, we’re serving 178 per day! Our marketing strategy on the first two days of the program was to offer breakfast for free, which meant that once breakfast wasn’t free anymore, breakfast numbers dropped a bit from the initial high. Despite that, the number of kids participating who are qualified for free and reduced-price breakfasts has continued to go up, so we’re reaching the kids who are most at risk of going hungry!

I know that numbers can often be boring, but I love being able to go to CR Anderson in the morning, chat with the kitchen staff and the kids, then go in to the office and pull up a report that tells me that what we’re doing is making a difference. In February we’ll also be trying a pilot breakfast program at Four Georgians Elementary School, so I’m looking forward to seeing the results at that school too!

This month I also helped to organize and host a forum on school food. The goal of the forum was to find out what people would like to see with the food their kids are eating at school, as well as help them understand how school food works. I’ve certainly found that without a good understanding of the rules and regulations around school food, it’s difficult to make effective changes. While no event is perfect, I thought that overall the forum was an important first step in channeling the interests of Helena’s community into actual change.

Ellen Harris
Montana No Kid Hungry-PRC AmeriCorps VISTA
Helena, MT