16 Montana schools were awarded grants today to help take a very important first step towards the health and future of their students and their communities. No Kid Hungry Director Lisa Lee said a total of $59,600 in privately funded grants have been awarded to assist them in starting new breakfast programs and expanding participation in existing programs.

"We were just able to award almost $60,000 to 16 different schools across Montana to expand their breakfast programs," Lee said. "It was an open grant cycle, which was actually very competitive, and we had a cycle earlier this year in the fall and that was also competitive. We just weren't sure what to think about coming into this next grant cycle, so it just goes to show that people are looking for other ways to feed kids and the need is great."

Lee said all of these schools have pledged to adopt innovative approaches to school breakfast, such as serving breakfast in the classroom or offering a "grab-and-go" style that appeals to teens on the go.

The grants also look to help make healthy school breakfast accessible to 7,000 students who attend the awarded schools, more than 60 percent of whom already qualify for free or reduced-priced meals.

Lee said most schools that received the grant already had food programs in place, but they are expanding it to a more effective alternative style.

"Very few schools actually are just starting a brand new school breakfast program because most schools in general have a school breakfast program," Lee said. "But when you go up to an alternative style model, you increase significantly in terms of kids participating in that program. Usually you double participation by just doing that."

The 16 schools that were awarded grants in this grant round are:
·         Browning Middle School (Browning) - $3924
·         Browning High School (Browning) - $5000
·         Washington Middle Elementary (Miles City) - $2711
·         Longfellow Elementary (Great Falls) - $5000
·         Whittier Elementary (Great Falls) - $5000
·         Cornelius Hedges Elementary (Kalispell) - $5000
·         Elrod Elementary (Kalispell) - $2129
·         Lakeside Elementary (Somers) - $4998
·         Columbia Falls High School (Columbia Falls) - $1000
·         Troy Junior-Senior High (Troy) - $5000
·         Stevensville Elementary (Stevensville) - $2675
·         Billings West High School (Billings) - $2600
·         Riverside Middle School (Billings) - $4964
·         Elysian Schools (Billings) - $4000
·         Canyon Creek School (Billings) - $666
·         Custer School District (Custer) - $4910
During the first round of school breakfast grants last November, close to $55,000 was awarded to 20 Montana schools.