School Cooks Discuss Feed to Achieve Act in Bridgeport - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

School Cooks Discuss Feed to Achieve Act in Bridgeport

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed The Feed to Achieve Act into law in  the summer of 2013, after it was passed by legislatures in April, 2013. 

The inspiration for the Act happened sometime in November of 2012, with a third grader at Berkeley Heights Elementary School.

West Virginia Senate Majority Leader John Unger was visiting the school, and asked students of a third grade class to come up with laws they thought would be a good idea.

"Senator, tell us which bill you support. And he says, 'I am going to support the extra lunch.' I asked him to tell all of the other children, the other senators, out there why you are going to support the extra lunch. He says, 'I am going to support the extra lunch, so I can eat the extra lunch and when I go home I won't eat mommy and daddy's food so my brother will have something to eat tonight," said Senator John Unger, West Virginia Senate Majority Leader.

The Feed to Achieve Act looks to combat childhood hunger and provide healthier options for students across the state.

Schools and educators across the country have improved child nutrition standards over the years as a way to fight a growing obesity issue.

"It has come a long way, but we still have a lot of hungry kids," said Janice Collins, Cafeteria Manager at Robert L. Bland Elementary School in Lewis County.

Senator Unger told school cooks at the Best Western in Bridgeport on Saturday that he was one of those kids and believes a full stomach is just as important as having the right text book.

The first step of the Feed to Achieve Act is breakfast for every student across the state.

"To align the breakfast, to include participation rates. That comes into full compliance in 2015," Unger said.

Janice Collins has spent 20 years in school cafeterias. She said it is not just breakfast time where she sees kids going hungry.

"Our school, they do send backpacks home to the ones that need it, that they know need it. They do do that. In October, we are starting our after school snack and supper programs," Collins said.

Unger said that is part two of the Act.

"Public-private partnership. The public can donate money, tax-deduct able. Every penny goes toward buying food for children by either augmenting the child's nutritious meal with other fruits and vegetables from the local market and also backpack programs, after school programs," Unger said.

Part three of the program looks to build joint programs with senior centers.

"To look at outreach programs after school. To have feeding programs, children coming into senior centers, having joint feeding programs between seniors and young children," Unger said.