Yesterday, Governor Steve Bullock and First Lady Lisa Bullock announced the availability of $55,000 in mini-grants to help Montana schools start or expand participation in breakfast programs.

“If we want our children to succeed in the classroom, we need to ensure that they start the day off right with a nutritious breakfast,” Governor Bullock said. “Through these grants, and partnerships with Montana businesses, we’ll help schools overcome the obstacles that might prevent them from increasing breakfast participation.”

Schools can apply online by going to Schools have until September 5th, 2014 to apply.

These grants were made possible through generous donations from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Neptune Aviation, and the No Kid Hungry Campaign of Share our Strength.

Research has shown that serving food after school starts (“after the bell”), can dramatically increase breakfast participation. As a result, more kids are fed and ready to learn. Teachers and principals who have implemented breakfast after the bell models say they’ve seen improvement in student behavior.

Further research shows that on average, students who eat breakfast perform 17.5 percent higher on mathematics standardized tests, have higher attendance, and are more likely to graduate high school. Students who eat school breakfast have increased attentiveness, improved behavior, and less sick and tardy days. These kids also have fewer disciplinary referrals.

In Montana, one in five children faces food insecurity.