ConAgra Foods Foundation honors six OPS schools with Hunger Free Schools Award

Award recognizes schools, school board members, administrators who have fought child hunger in Omaha

DSC01198OMAHA — Thursday morning, ConAgra Foods Foundation, in partnership with community organizations that fight hunger and advocate for youth, recognized work to fight childhood hunger in Omaha schools by presenting six OPS schools with the Hunger Free School Award.

At a celebratory breakfast meeting hosted at ConAgra Foods, the OPS Board of Education and OPS Nutrition Services were among the honorees. The committee selected schools and representative leaders that made a unique and and determined effort to adopt the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

CEP is a new tool available to fight childhood hunger in high-poverty Nebraska schools. Eligible schools in low-income districts qualify to provide breakfast and lunch to all students free of charge which reduces administrative burdens and ensures all students have enough healthy, nutritious food to be prepared to learn and grow.

“When it comes to ensuring the well-being of children and families, there are a number of inter-related systems from education to health and hunger that work hand-in-hand in the community,” explained Kori Reed, vice president Cause & Foundation, ConAgra Foods. “One example is that children need nourishment to learn; and a child that does not have consistent access to food may have a harder time concentrating in school. This is why we have aligned with community partners to honor those who are making strides to leverage programs that put kids in the best position to grow up healthy and ready to learn.”

The six schools receiving a Hunger Free Schools Award were:

Druid Hill Elementary School
Franklin Elementary School
Kennedy Elementary School
King Elementary School
Lothrop Elementary School
Saratoga Elementary School

Recently, the Nebraska Department of Education released a list of more than 100 Nebraska schools across the state that are eligible to participate in the CEP for the 2015-16 school year. Schools have until August 31 to decide whether they will participate in community eligibility, and can apply through the Nebraska Department of Education.

Mary Ann Harvey, Economic Justice attorney at Nebraska Appleseed, said all eligible Nebraska schools should seriously consider taking up CEP to reduce hunger in their classrooms.

“We know that with nearly one in five Nebraska children living in poverty, many students struggle to get the food they need to be prepared to learn and grow in our schools. The Community Eligibility Provision is one of the best ways to ensure all Nebraska kids are getting the nutritious meals they need,” Harvey said. “Some of the schools eligible for CEP would have the entire program paid with federal funds, so we encourage all Nebraska schools who qualify to see if CEP can be the most-effective tool to reduce classroom hunger.”

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