During the school year, many children receive meals through the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). When summer begins, these children lose access to healthy meals and their nutritional needs are not met when the schools close. Over the past four years, ARCHS has participated in a national demonstration pilot program to address this issue.
Since 2012, ARCHS' partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the State of Missouri has provided 14,472 area children in the Saint Louis Public Schools District access to a food benefits program during the summer, while making a $1.96 million impact on the local economy, through Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC). On average, families participating in the ARCHS' program used 92% of the food benefits funding available to them in order to provide healthy meals for their children.
This summer, ARCHS' SEBTC pilot program will assist more than 9,000 area students through an existing partnership with the Saint Louis Public Schools and a new partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis to serve children living in Ferguson.
SEBTC is a benefit designated for children who attend pre-k through 12th grade and also receive free or reduced-price school meals in the SBP/NSLP during the school year. The households chosen through ARCHS' pilot program receive extra funding per month per child for the summer months and prorated amounts for the partial months when school ends in the spring and resumes at the end of summer.
At its June Board of Directors meeting, ARCHS elected the following new board members:
-Herbert Bernsen, Director of the Department of Justice Services, St. Louis County
-Henry Johnson III, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley
-Melba Moore, Director of Health, City of St. Louis
-Jennifer Moorehouse, Director, Healthcare Operations/
Performance and Mergers & Acquisitions Integration, Ascension Health
-John Parker, Owner and Principal Consultant, Evolution C0mmunications Group
-Dr. Joylynn Pruitt, Retiring Superintendent, The School District of University City
Pictured above left to right: John Parker, Dr. Joylynn Pruitt, Wendell Kimbrough (ARCHS' Chief Executive Officer), Henry Johnson III, Melba Moore, and Matt Mathews (ARCHS' Board Chair).
For the second year, 100 people served through ARCHS' programming will enjoy a night at The Muny. The historic outdoor musical theatre is donating tickets to ARCHS and other area not-for-profits for their 2016 summer performances that kicked-off with The Wizard of Oz in June.
Through this effort, the Muny is assuring that many children and their family members will enjoy their first theatrical performance. ARCHS applauds the Muny for their generosity and community outreach efforts.
The teenagers of Generation Z – the rising cohort born after 1995 that follows the Millennials – experienced improved education and health indicators despite growing up in the midst of the economic downturn, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The 2016 Data Book, which focuses on key trends in child well-being in the post-recession years, measures child well-being in four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.
The 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book shows improvement since 2008 for Missouri in many key areas as it relates to child wellbeing, including:
- Teen birth rate decreased by nearly 40%
- High school students not graduating on time declined from 20% to 13%
- Child and teen death rate declined from 36 per 100,000 to 28 per 100,000
“We’ve seen improvements in several areas of interest over the past eight years,” said Bill Dent, Executive Director of Missouri Family and Community Trust (FACT). “However, many Missouri children are being raised in poverty, or without health care, and this is something that needs to be addressed.”
While advancements have been made, there are still opportunities for improvement in Missouri in the following areas as highlighted by the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book:
- One in five children live in poverty
- One in ten children live in neighborhoods where 30% or more of all households are low income
- As recently as 2014, approximately 100,000 children lack health insurance
On April 29, 2016, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Rogers Middle School in Affton to announce a partnership with national anti-hunger not-for-profit Share our Strength and a coalition of state agencies and community-based organizations that includes ARCHS.
No Kid Hungry Missouri will work with school districts and other stakeholders to implement proven strategies to increase access to school breakfast, after school snacks, and summer meals. Currently, one in five children in Missouri struggle with hunger. In addition to this effort, ARCHS will continue this summer to lead a regional partnership with the USDA, the State of Missouri, and targeted school districts to increase summer food benefits through the nationally acclaimed Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children (SEBTC) program.
"Child hunger is a serious problem – but it's a solvable one. That's why we're teaming up with No Kid Hungry to connect more kids in Missouri to the healthy food they need where they live, learn, and play," Gov. Nixon said. "The No Kid Hungry Missouri campaign will work to break down the barriers that stand between kids and the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong."
Students who eat school breakfast are 20 percent more likely to graduate high school, average 17.5 percent higher on math test scores, and attend 1.5 more days of school per year. But currently, too many students from low-income families miss out on free or reduced-price school breakfast because it is most often served before they arrive, or they do not want to face the stigma of eating alone in the cafeteria.
Making breakfast a part of the school day, by serving it in the classroom or at "Grab n Go" carts, can overcome these barriers. For example, Rogers Middle School offers Second Chance Grab and Go breakfast to all students between second and third hour. More than 50 percent of students participate and the program has recently expanded to Affton High School with help from student leadership.