Concerns were expressed for several students who hadn't eaten prior to being given snacks and how those hungry students cannot be expected to learn or even concentrate for a long school day without proper nutrition, said Chris Hecht, the school's executive director.
For the Kona Pacific
staff, breakfast at school was more than food for thought; it was a sustainable solution to helping combat childhood hunger and promote lifelong healthy eating habits.
They felt their school was in a unique position in playing a vital role in addressing a solvable problem and a basic human need, as well as making a meaningful impact in their community, Hecht
Without hesitation and with steadfast passion, Kona Pacific
took up this effort, despite its overall funding being down about a third since the school opened six years ago, he
The program, which began Monday, is again in partnership with Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law
and Economic Justice, which is providing $24,000 for the start up and development, Hecht
This program is also the subject of an academic research study on the benefits of breakfast in the classroom for a range of educational, health and behavioral indices.
will be meticulously analyzing all aspects of the program, including the financial data, with the intention of sharing information with other public schools wanting to adopt similar programs or become ambassadors.
Kona Pacific plans write up an official report and disseminate it statewide by April, Hecht
Kona Pacific gets on average about $1.70 per student in federal reimbursements, Hecht said.
anticipates paying between $16,000 and $18,000 a year feeding students breakfast.
However, the school hopes to cut the cost in half by working on recipes and buying local food, as well as reducing waste and labor.
Meals are prepared 10 miles away in a certified kitchen because the Kealakekua campus doesn't have such a facility, Hecht
Besides figuring out the financial part, another challenge is getting locally grown food at affordable prices.
is always looking for local farmers to partner with and anyone wanting to donate food, Hecht
To get involved, call the school office at 322-4905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another key partner in this program is Adaptations Inc.
, a food hub in Kainaliu that sources entirely from local growers.
will raise the amount of locally grown food being purchased for the school from its current 12 percent to at least 20 percent over the coming year, Hecht
also has plans to revitalize a 14-acre organic farm with the help of seven AmeriCorps volunteers, starting this October, as well as restore 8 acres of the ancient Kona Field System and use traditional cultivation techniques there to produce traditional foods.
The food produced will be for the students and the community, Hecht
These projects are being made possible, thanks to support and funding from the USDA and AmeriCorps, he