These Heroes are Fueling Hungry Kids With Breakfast

Powering hungry kids with breakfast takes real heroes. Teachers and principals, cafeteria managers and district superintendents, these everyday Americans are joining with No Kid Hungry to ensure hungry kids get the fuel they need to shine in the classroom and beyond.

That’s why we're proud to present our 2019 School Breakfast Hero Contest winners. From the Great Lakes to the Pacific coast and beyond, these champions inspired big changes in their schools by serving breakfast after the morning bell, giving hungry kids the food they need to reach their full potential.

With so many more kids fed and ready to learn each day because of their efforts, these heroes inspired us along the way too. We can’t wait for you to meet them.

Illustrated image of Jon Konen.

Jon Konen Great Falls, Montana

Principal Jon isn’t just a breakfast hero; he’s a breakfast trailblazer. Back in 2014, the Lincoln Elementary School principal donned his signature cowboy hat and sent childhood hunger packing. He secured one of the first No Kid Hungry breakfast grants in the state to help make breakfast after the bell a reality for his school. Thanks to his visionary action, 11 schools in his district have followed suit, expanding breakfast to scores of needy kids. “His program serves as a model for his peers not only in Great Falls, but across the state,” said Linda Cleatus, a program manager with No Kid Hungry Montana.

Illustrated image of Barbara O'Connor.

Barbara O’Connor – Morrow, Georgia

Down south, Morrow Middle School nutrition manager Barbara O’Connor is pioneering ways to get students fueled up with breakfast. 1 in 5 kids in Georgia lives hunger, and nearly 95% of students at Morrow are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. To reach as many of them as possible, O’Connor unveiled a grab-n-go breakfast program for students to pick up a meal on the way to class. Innovative? Certainly, but O’Connor goes a step further by offering taste tests and healthy choice incentives to ensure kids get the nutrition they need and enjoy.

Illustrated image of Dr. Monte Stewart.

Dr. Monte Stewart – Rialto, California

When Hughbanks Elementary School principal Dr. Monte Stewart approaches breakfast after the bell, he keeps his VIPs in mind. “Everything he does goes back to supporting his number one stakeholder: his students,” explained Daisy Munguia, senior program manager for No Kid Hungry California. With 1 in 5 kids in California struggling with hunger, Dr. Stewart became an early adopter of serving breakfast in the classroom, energizing his students to take on the day. That’s a true breakfast hero – always putting his kids first.


Illustrated image of Nancy LaFave.

Nancy LaFave – Upper Peninsula, Michigan

You might call Nancy LaFave a two-time breakfast champion. As school nutrition director for the Bark River-Harris and Escanaba School Districts, she brought breakfast in the classroom to both of her districts, doubling her impact among the 1 in 6 kids in Michigan living with hunger. Now, every elementary school student in the two districts – and many middle school students – can count on breakfast every day to keep them healthy and learning. “She’s gotten administrative and public support,” said Michigan Department of Education’s Diane Golzynski, “never once losing sight of wanting to take care of the kids.”


Illustrated image of Wichita Public Schools group.

Wichita Public Schools – Kansas

Sometimes, getting breakfast to kids who need it takes a team of heroes. That’s exactly the case in Wichita, where more than 75% of students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. School nutrition director David Paul led the way for 10 schools to establish innovative breakfast delivery models, including second chance breakfast carts placed throughout the school for students to visit.  Paul, however, points to school supervisor Jeff Falkner as the real hero, who in turn lauds cafeteria managers Travis Folds, Leesa Morgan, Kay Scott and Amy Steward. The results of this team effort? An additional 1,100 students eating breakfast in the school district, and no single person will claim credit. Now that’s heroic.

Want to meet more incredible people making a difference for kids across America? Get to know our 2019 School Breakfast Hall of Fame class.

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