Montana’s governor and first lady joined actor Jeff Bridges Wednesday in imploring Western governors to join their campaign to end childhood hunger.
“How can we have a strong country if we have hungry kids?” Bridges said, addressing the audience and panel of nine governors at the Western Governors Assocation meeting in Whitefish.
“Not only is this a problem we can solve, but it’s a problem we must solve,” said first lady Lisa Bullock. “Thousands of kids in Montana and millions across the country face the school day without the proper meals they need to learn and grow.
“We have a moral obligation as leaders of our states to ensure that every child who shows up for school is well-fed and ready to learn.”
Added Gov. Bullock, who is chairman of the WGA:
“We have an economic obligation to prepare our communities for a brighter future. When kids are hungry, it has a severe and lasting impact on academic achievement, physical and mental health, family stability, and future self-sufficiency.”
The Bullocks outlined their work to combat childhood hunger in Montana by encouraging schools to implement new breakfast programs or convert existing programs to alternative breakfast models that are known to increase student participation through the Breakfast after the Bell initiative.
Since 2014, the Bullocks have partnered with Montana No Kid Hungry to award over $260,000 in private grant funding to 70 Montana schools. There are now more than 145 schools in Montana that have made breakfast part of the school day, and Montana ranks in the top 10 states for school breakfast participation.
Bullock encouraged his fellow Western governors to commit to ending childhood hunger in their states.
“Feeding kids is a bipartisan issue,” he said. “As governors, your state needs your support, leadership, and action to give kids the opportunity for a healthy and successful future.”