RELEASE – Schools vie to feed more students in Better Breakfast Challenge

For Immediate Release                          

April 17, 2017


Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
(402) 438-8853 (office)
(402) 840-7289 (cell)


Schools vie to feed more students in Better Breakfast Challenge

Contest will award cash prizes to western Nebraska schools that improve breakfast participation


Elementary schools in more than a dozen communities in western Nebraska will have the chance to earn cash prizes by ensuring more students are eating a healthy breakfast before heading to class.

Today, Nebraska Appleseed and the Safeway Foundation announce the launch of the “Western Nebraska Better Breakfast Challenge” which looks to improve school breakfast participation in schools located in communities served by Safeway stores.

“We know many students in western Nebraska aren’t able to eat breakfast before heading to school, and every study shows getting a good breakfast leads to better outcomes in the classroom and healthier kids,” said Eric Savaiano, Nebraska Appleseed Economic Justice Program Associate. “Through this partnership with Safeway, we hope to encourage schools to serve breakfast to more students so they are getting the healthy start to the day that they need in order to learn and grow.”

Public elementary schools eligible to participate in the Better Breakfast Challenge are located in Box Butte, Scotts Bluff, Cheyenne, Dawes, and Keith counties. This includes schools in Ogallala, Scottsbluff, Sidney, Alliance, Gering, Chadron, Hemingford, Leyton, Potter-Dix, Crawford, Paxton, Minatare, Morrill, and Mitchell.

The Challenge awards cash prizes to the three schools with the largest increases in breakfast participation by November 2017. The first-place school will receive $500, second place $200, and third place $100. And the first 16 schools to sign up for the challenge will receive a $200 incentive to implement an alternative breakfast model or to improve their current breakfast program. The challenge is funded by the Safeway Foundation.

In recent years, Nebraska has ranked near the bottom of the country in the percentage of students from low-income families who receive breakfast at school. Last year, only 43 percent of students who received free and reduced-price lunch also received school breakfast, putting Nebraska 48th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Investing in our kids now pays off in a big way in the future,” Savaiano said. “Research shows schools see better attendance and student behavior, test scores improve, as does student health when students get breakfast at school. With the Better Breakfast Challenge, we’re encouraging our great schools to be creative and do all they can to make sure all of their students start the day with a healthy meal.”

To participate in the Better Breakfast Challenge or to learn more, contact Eric Savaiano at (402) 438-8853 ext. 126 or email

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