TAMPA, Fla. (December 15, 2020) – GENYOUth and the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee announced today, the official launch of the Forever 55 Super School Breakfast Initiative. With the goal of tackling hunger among Tampa Bay area youth, GENYOUth and the Host Committee have been working in partnership with Florida Blue, Triad Foundation and the Dairy Council of Florida to deliver 55+ Grab and Go Buccaneers Fuel Up to Play 60-branded breakfast carts to local schools, which will increase access to more than five million school meals for Tampa Bay area students. Of the 55+ carts, 33 are being delivered to schools in Hillsborough County, 20 in Pinellas County and five in Pasco County.
The Forever 55 Super School Breakfast Initiative is part of a larger commitment by the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee and their legacy program, Forever 55. The Host Committee established Forever 55 and its six Pillars to best reflect the needs of the community, and how it can leave a lasting impact and continue to move “Forward.Forever.Together.”
“We are very proud to be teaming up with GENYOUth and Florida Blue to help address an overwhelming need in our community. Food insecurity is a core pillar of Forever 55, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee’s Legacy Program. With over 700,000 food-insecure people in the Tampa Bay region, our goal is to help increase student access to nutritious meals and contribute to a long-term solution,” said Claire Lessinger, Chief Operating Officer, Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee. “By providing 55+ sustainable Grab and Go breakfast carts in need-based Title I schools, this partnership will elevate and increase access to breakfast in our local schools and ultimately improve health, wellness and academic performance in underserved communities.”
“Before the pandemic, approximately one in four Tampa Bay children was food insecure¹, and since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, the need for food assistance has more than doubled in some parts of the region,” said David Pizzo, market president for Florida Blue, the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in Florida. “Florida Blue is driven by our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, and good nutrition is essential to the current and future health of our Tampa Bay kids. The Super School Breakfast carts being delivered to 55+ schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties will provide students with the healthy meals their growing minds and bodies need.”
“This is the sixth year that GENYOUth has received support from the Host Committee, and the stakes could not be higher. Due to the pandemic and the shift to at-home and hybrid learning, a record number of children are now going hungry on a daily basis,” said Alexis Glick, CEO, GENYOUth. “All Tampa Bay students deserve to have access to the nutrition and meals needed to start their day. We are grateful that our partners at Florida Blue, Triad Foundation and the Dairy Council of Florida are stepping up to make the battle against food insecurity a priority, ensuring that more students will have access to nourishing meals and nutritious milk as part of healthy school meals. We are also proud to be delivering NFL Flag-in-schools kits to 55 schools in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, as these will help keep kids physically active at a time when school programs have been greatly impacted with activities reduced.”
Since the Super School Breakfast Initiative began in 2017, GENYOUth has delivered over 500 Grab and Go carts to high need schools across the U.S., which have helped increase breakfast participation by up to 27% and provide access to over 50 million school breakfast opportunities a year.
Research shows the staggering extent of food insecurity among Tampa Bay youth, as well as the benefits of good nutrition provided by school breakfast programs in helping to advance students' health and academic performance.
- Thirty million U.S. students rely on school meals for a significant portion of their daily nutrition, and this is continuing despite schools being closed for in-person classes. For tens of millions of kids, school meals are a lifeline and the only source of daily nutrition they receive².
- Breakfast and proper dietary intake (nutrient-rich foods like milk and dairy, fruit and whole grains) provide numerous health and educational benefits. These include improved academic performance, attendance and readiness to learn – whether in person or virtual².
- Skipping breakfast and experiencing hunger impairs a child’s ability to learn².
- Innovative approaches to serving school breakfast like breakfast after the bell and Grab and Go meals, which move breakfast out of the cafeteria, are the most successful strategies for increasing school breakfast participation³.
- Almost nine out of 10 schools report lacking at least one piece of equipment they need to serve healthier foods³.
- Hillsborough County School District is ranked 33rd in breakfast participation out of the largest 100 school districts in the country³.
- In Hillsborough County, the current ratio of free/reduced participation in school breakfast programs to national school lunch programs is 65.8, and in Pinellas County the ratio prior to pandemic school closures was 58.8. The national goal is 70, and there are financial implications for meeting this benchmark. For example, if Hillsborough was to increase its ratio to 70, it would receive an additional $1,268,336 in federal funding⁴.
In support of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee’s Health and Wellness pillar, GENYOUth will also provide 55 schools in Pinellas and Hillsborough County school districts with NFL FLAG-in-schools kits.
¹ Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) report
² GENYOUth Healthier School Communities Report – What Is At Stake Now
³ Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
⁴ The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) sets an ambitious but achievable goal of reaching 70 low-income students with breakfast for every 100 participating in school lunch.