Taye Diggs on how he’s helping to make breakfast a reality for kids in need
By TAYE DIGGS March 3, 2013 8:44PM
Updated: March 3, 2013 9:18PM
For most of us, the fact that we’ll eat breakfast is a given, whether it’s as simple as a bowl of cereal or a muffin from the local coffee shop. But for millions of kids in America, breakfast isn’t part of their routine. In fact, the alarming reality is that one in five kids throughout our communities regularly go without breakfast. That means that one of your child’s friends probably starts each day without anything to eat. I’ve personally experienced what this feels like — growing up, there were times that my family wasn’t doing so well, and I can remember days when I would go to school hungry. I can relate to the financial worries that many families in America face in trying to put food on the table every day.
Now that I’m a dad, I’m fortunate enough to be able to give my son breakfast each morning. But many kids have to rely on school breakfast programs to get the food they need to be prepared to learn and to unlock their full potential. I know this because I was one of those children. That’s why this year, it’s my mission to help vulnerable kids eat breakfast by raising awareness of Kellogg’s Share Breakfast program, which aims to end childhood hunger by sharing 1 million breakfasts with kids who normally go without it.
Our in-school partner, Chicago-based Action for Healthy Kids, fights childhood obesity, undernourishment and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places. The organization also provides grants directly to schools so that they can increase participation in the national School Breakfast Program. These grants, funded by Share Breakfast, already have given more than 100 schools in 36 states the support they need to ensure their students start each day off right.
Recently, as part of my work with both organizations, I appeared in a public service announcement and narrated two Great Start videos, sharing inspiring stories from grant recipients Cypress Elementary in Kissimmee, Fla., and Hodge Elementary in Denton, Texas. As part of the breakfast program at Cypress Elementary, physical education teacher Edgar Colon hands out breakfast to students every morning to make sure no one goes hungry. At Hodge Elementary, the school breakfast program has already had an enormous impact on students, from fewer visits to the nurse’s office to better class participation.
Because of the Share Breakfast program, I’m confident that stories like these can become a child’s reality anywhere. The advantages for kids who’ve enrolled in school breakfast programs are limitless — studies show that those who participate have fewer absences and late arrivals than those who don’t. These programs and these children need our support today. After all, it’s about the health and well-being of our nation’s future generation.
Taye Diggs donated his fee for this column to Action for Healthy Kids. For more information, visit ShareBreakfast.com, which will share breakfast with a child in need for every view, share, tweet and comment about the PSA and Great Start videos.