RICHMOND, Va. -- Elementary students were treated with a visit by Governor Terry McAuliffe, the First Lady, and former NBA All-Star Charles Oakley as the trio announced an update to a school breakfast initiative Wednesday morning.
At a tour of Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School in Richmond's Southside, Governor McAuliffe announced that 4.88 million more school breakfasts were served to Virginia students during the 2015-16 school year compared to the prior year.
"Providing this breakfast, which is a simple thing to do, really helps these children," McAuliffe said. "At the end of the day, as governor, I'm trying to build a 21st century workforce and we can’t do that if our children are just plain hungry."
At the visit, the Governor also announced the launch of the first Virginia Breakfast Challenge, an initiative of the No Kid Hungry Virginia campaign and several nonprofit and state partners.
Schools that achieve the greatest increases in breakfast participation will be eligible for prizes to support school nutrition programs, teacher engagement, and infrastructure improvements.
First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe championed the initiative.
“School breakfast is as key to student success as books and computers," she said. "With a nutritious breakfast, students can focus on their lessons, not on their stomachs.”
In the 2015 legislative session, the McAuliffe administration worked to get $537,000 in funding, and more than $2 million in funding from the General Assembly during the 2016 session.
This school year, Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary will participate in the Virginia 365 Project to End Childhood Hunger.
It will join eight other Richmond schools and ten Southwest Virginia schools in the $8.8 million USDA demonstration grant, which provides three meals each school day, food backpacks for the weekend, Summer EBT benefits, and nutrition education classes at no cost to students or their families, according to a press release.