My School Breakfast Hero is Helping Feed Kids in Washington

Bringing great food to my community is not only my profession, but it is also something that brings me great pride. As a chef, I spend countless hours considering how best to prepare and showcase ingredients to provide my guests with a dining experience they’ll remember. I know the joy that food can bring. It’s unthinkable to me that in this land of plenty, there are children going without.

Yet, I know that 1 in 5 kids in Washington state lives in a family that struggles with hunger. School breakfast can help change that.

This week is National School Breakfast Week – a great time to tell you more about someone who has worked just as tirelessly to make sure Washington kids get a healthy meal at school each and every morning.

Lauren McGowan

Lauren McGowan (photo: United Way of King County)

Let me introduce you to my breakfast hero, Lauren McGowan, a Senior Director at United Way King County. Lauren knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day – that’s why she has spent nearly five years working to pass breakfast legislation that would help to feed more kids in Washington state.

Lauren has led a coalition of community leaders and helped to transform the way our legislators think about school breakfast. Those efforts have paid off: Governor Jay Inslee just signed a law bringing “Breakfast After the Bell" to hungry kids across the state.

Thanks to this legislation, as many as 30,000 students in high-need schools in Washington will now have the chance to start each school day with a healthy breakfast. Washington is also now the seventh state in the nation to pass a law requiring schools to serve breakfast after the bell.

Feeding a child breakfast means giving them a chance at success. When kids in Washington have consistent, reliable access to school breakfast, it helps them learn more, stay healthier, and grow up stronger. And that’s a recipe for a stronger, more prosperous Washington.

This National School Breakfast Week, join me in thanking the everyday heroes like Lauren McGowan who make sure no kid goes hungry in their communities.

Josh Henderson is an award winning Executive Chef and founder of the Huxley Wallace Collective in Seattle.