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Feeding Kids in Middle Tennessee

Feeding Kids in Middle Tennessee

Food Bank Receives Tyson Foods Donations as Part of Hunger Heroes Campaign

Each week, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee serves more than 6,700 hungry children at more than 100 schools throughout Tennessee. That means, every year, they feed enough kids to fill the Tennessee Titans stadium more than five times. 

As a part of the 2014 Hunger Heroes campaign, Champions for Kids partnered with Tyson Foods to bring 30,000 pounds of chicken to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
As a part of the 2014 Hunger Heroes campaign, Champions for Kids partnered with Tyson Foods to bring 30,000 pounds of chicken to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.


This feat (because it is truly a feat) takes a community effort, which is why the food bank works with more than 450 partner agencies in a service area covering 46 counties. Last year, their 19 truck fleet covered 533,374 miles rescuing and delivering food to those agencies. That’s enough miles to travel around the earth over 21.4 times.

As a part of the 2014 Hunger Heroes campaign, Champions for Kids partnered with Tyson Foods to bring 30,000 pounds of chicken to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

On February 24, 2015, staff members from Champions for Kids, Tyson Foods and Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee gathered together as a Tyson Foods truck pulled up to deliver pounds upon pounds of food to help fight hunger. Tyson Foods has donated over 100 million pounds of protein since 2000, and continues to serve as a champion against hunger in the USA.

Working with these organizations is truly a privilege, because it means coming together to acknowledge and stand against deeply harrowing, often crippling challenges like food insecurity.

Yes, Champions for Kids has the goal of helping 20 million kids by 2020, but our organization does not exist in a vacuum. Only through deliberate collaboration and a shared value of bettering communities can organizations, schools and individuals make a difference.

What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? Let us know in the comments! 

RazorFest Grant Winners Celebrate with Champions for Kids

RazorFest Grant Winners Celebrate with Champions for Kids

Each year at RazorFest, Champions for Kids gives grants to organizations that work to improve the lives of kids, families and communities. Congratulations to the following organizations!

OneCommunity is a non-profit organization founded in Northwest Arkansas whose mission is to promote communities working together to enhance the quality of life of all people through use of best practices and outreach services that improve health, education, and leadership skills.

Children’s Safety Center
Every year, hundreds of children in the Northwest Arkansas area are robbed of their dreams, robbed of their self-esteem and robbed of their childhood by physical and sexual abuse. Children’s Safety Center (CSC) is a child-friendly, family-centered facility, located in the JTL Shop in Springdale, AR that coordinates the complex investigation, prosecution and treatment services to these child victims of sexual and physical abuse in Washington County.

Yvonne Richardson Community Center The Yvonne Richardson Community Center is a non-profit organization which promotes educational and recreational activities for the multi-cultural population of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The center was constructed when a group of citizens felt a need to provide a safe, structured environment in which people would be given the opportunity to benefit from positive programs and policies.

Teen Action Support Network Teen Action Support Center (TASC) is a nonprofit organization that  encourage youth ages 13-19 to realize their full potential by providing free support services that promote the development of responsible and productive members of the community.

Life Source
LifeSource International is a non-profit organization in Fayetteville, Arkansas whose mission is to give a hand up,  not just a hand out. The primary objective is to instill positive values and living skills in children, adults, and senior citizens in a welcoming, non-threatening environment. All services are offered free of charge, to anyone in need of the service regardless of race, religious belief, language, or residency.

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier


“You can’t teach a hungry child!”

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

Jamie* seems like a typical eight grade student, but carries around an unseen barrier. It starts in her Monday morning algebra class, when her stomach tightens with pangs to remind her she hasn’t eaten since the previous Friday. Fighting a slow burning sensation, she tries to focus on linear equations before heading to biology, where her stomach pangs become nauseating cramps.

Jamie’s barrier to education—hunger—is something millions of kids struggle with, and what educators battle daily.  If a child is hungry, focusing on anything becomes an uphill battle both for the child and teacher. How can a child engage in classroom discussion, focus on homework or recall information without nutritional support?

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation, a non-profit organization established to support the needs of the Clarksville Montgomery County School system, is a firm believer in the saying “You can’t teach a hungry child!”

Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation exists to support the improvement of public education by providing the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System additional funding for the support of programs and initiatives that contribute to student achievement.

The organization plans to support their district’s 100% Graduation Program with the donation of snacks received through the Champions for Kids and the Walmart partnership. Many districts, including theirs, has a backpack program that helps send home snacks with students who may not have food over the weekend.

In addition to providing snacks for elementary and middle schools, the program also provides meals for high school students attending the organization’s Virtual High School program. Unlike a traditional school, the Virtual High School has no cafeteria.

“Some life circumstance out of their control may have brought them to the Virtual high,” says Candy Johnson, who works with the Clarksville Montgomery County schools. “But as a community we can still ensure that while they are in our care, they can have a snack to help them fully focus and achieve 100% Graduation in our district!”

What are your thoughts on hunger barriers in education? Share your own story, spread the word or find out how you can get involved in your community!

*Name changed 

Champions for Kids Announces SIMPLE Service Winners

Champions for Kids Announces SIMPLE Service Winners

This summer, Champions for Kids launched another SIMPLE Service campaign, this time partnering with Elmer’s to support community champions who work tirelessly to bring education, food, clothing and other essential items to local children. Check out the three winners from this SIMPLE Service campaign and join us in congratulating them on their incredible services!

1st place: Faith Moving Mountains
It’s not every day that school supplies fill a principal’s office, but students from Elm Grove Middle School, La., are not your everyday kids. Students were issued a challenge: they had two days to collect and fill the principal’s office with school supplies. By the second day, the principal’s office was so full that the door barely shut. Supplies were donated to Faith Moving Mountains, a local non-profit organization that distributes school uniforms and supplies to 400 children in need.

The Read2Learn SIMPLE Service project impacted 196 second graders across eight campuses
The Read2Learn SIMPLE Service project impacted 196 second graders across eight campuses

2nd place: Read 2 Learn
For many children, struggling to read is an insecurity which damages self-confidence. January Jones, educator in Wichita Falls, Texas, decided to go to bat for students by establishing the Read2Learn Program in her school’s district. After one year, 350 Read2Learn volunteers, spread across eight campuses, invested 3,880 volunteer hours helping 196 second grade students. By the end of the school year, 90% of those students were reading on grade level.

3rd Place: Fiesta Feed Families
Every Thursday evening, people in the Clendenin community of West Virginia gather together for a single goal: pack 100 bags filled with six, easy-to-prepare meals and snacks, for children in their local area. What drives this kind of dedication is a passion to relieve hunger for students who rely on school meals. In addition to providing boxes of food during holiday breaks and free books to students on reading level, this group has also started a reading program in their community.

Have you done a service project in your community? Tell us about it or see how you can join our upcoming SIMPLE Service campaign! 



Congratulations, 2014 Summer of Giving Winners!

Congratulations, 2014 Summer of Giving Winners!

In June 2014, Champions for Kids launched an incredible #SIMPLEService campaign with Tyson Foods, known as Summer of Giving, encouraging people to find small ways to serve the food insecure children in their communities. In return for their service and stories, three winners were chosen for a $25,000 award for their local school district.

We owe so many thanks to all that participated and are so thrilled to announce our three winners!

Fuel for School, Smyrna Elementary School

In a small county in Tennessee, Smyrna Elementary desperately needed support for a feeding program. The “food insecure” children at Smyrna counted on two meals a day (breakfast and lunch) during the school week, but often went home to empty pantries over the weekends. The school provided “backpacks” of kid-friendly meals and snacks to only 30 out of the 100 qualified children in need. The Sunshine Circle at the United Methodist Church set an initial goal to provide 5 more children with “backpacks” each week.

The “backpacks” were made of one gallon zipper food bags, and included the following: One milk, one fruit juice, two breakfast items, two dinner meal items, and two healthy snack items.

“Often times when we feel we are too small to make an impact on an issue as serious, desperate and vast as childhood hunger, it strengthens our morale to hear of programs like the Summer of Giving. We can see and hear about others like us, which with support from larger groups, can make a tangible difference in the lives of our communities’ children,” shares Sherill Pitts of the United Methodist Church.



Boys and Girls Club of McGehee

In McGehee, Arkansas, 100 children visit the Boys and Girls Club every day, ages 6-18, for summer programs. This includes a summer food program that provides breakfast and lunch. In working with the Boys and Girls Club summer programs, volunteers decided to follow the guidelines of Summer of Giving and combine cooking, nutrition, and cultural awareness. Volunteers took six children to Walmart and the kids picked Tyson products from the freezer section to use for the breakfast and lunch programs.

The children (under the supervision of adults!) made rice and cooked a stir fry meal, using a wok and chopsticks. A few days later, the kids prepared and served wings for movie day. For a carnival, corn dogs and chicken fries were the treat of the day! Good nutrition was also taught with servings of broccoli and quinoa, plus a discussion about the benefits of olive oil and fresh herbs. The kids were thrilled to be in the kitchen wearing aprons and learning about preparing food and the change of pace was welcome.
“Serving them and watching them eat was such a blessing. They were so proud that they prepared the meal themselves,” Amanda Pambianchi explained. “I learned long ago that every child wants to be a leader and wants to be recognized. By giving THEM the opportunity to shop, plan, prepare, serve, and learn, they will carry these memories. It may inspire them to share their time, talents, and resources.”


McGehee Boys & Girls Club

Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter

Mondelez International’s corporate dream is to create “delicious moments of joy” through their snacks, and when they learned of the Summer of Giving program, they knew exactly how to inspire and lead from the heart. When Walmart Northwest Arkansas LPGA Championship asked for product and truck donations for their Drive for Hope initiative, benefiting the NWA Children’s Shelter, the folks at Mondelez International didn’t hesitate to say “Yes!”

NWA Children’s Shelter provides a round-the-clock safe haven for neglected, abused, and abandoned children. Now in its 20th year, NWA Children’s Shelter has opened its doors to more than 7,200 children who usually arrive with only the clothes on their backs. The shelter provides protection, education, counseling, and nutrition for its guests.

“We know that by responding, in even such a relatively small way – by leading from the head and the heart – we have potentially played a part in positive transformations for dozens (and perhaps even hundreds) of kids,” said Todd Hanus, Customer Vice President of Mondelez International.

NWA Children's Shelter

Congratulations to our winners and a huge thank you to our incredible sponsors – Tyson, Birds Eye, and State Fair! You are all Champions!

Creative Ways to Teach Your Students About Police Officers

Creative Ways to Teach Your Students About Police Officers

Last week was Police Officer Appreciation week. Teaching police officer respect in the classroom can be challenging. Here are some relatable ways to talk to children about the important role law enforcement plays in our society.

When we were kids we use to play “cops and robbers”. Usually we fought over who got to be the police. No one wanted to be the bad guys. Why? Because the police were the heroes. They took care of the bad guys, protected every one, and at the end of the day, they were the super heroes.

All too often the kids in our lives and classrooms see or hear about bad stuff happening. While bad stuff is happening, it is often our police who are working behind the scenes to clean up the damage or solve a crime. Their role often goes unrecognized unless they do something wrong or miss something. It’s important to teach kids that our police are there to help keep us safe.

It’s easy to get caught up in a world of over the top super heroes, but every day and night we have hard working men and women who work long hours and put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. Police are our real super heroes.

Super Hero Duties

  • Put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.
  • Work long hours.
  • Sacrifice time with their families, holidays, and sleep to keep us safe.
  • Sacrifice their lives to take care of us.
  • See sad things and still keep working.
  • Rescue people from themselves or others.
  • Are often the first responders to an emergency.
  • Clear the path for other rescue vehicles to get where they need to be.
  • Direct traffic, often standing in a precarious spots to keep traffic flowing in busy areas.

Truly, there are countless ways police work to be our community and state heroes. Often times they go unrecognized as they work tirelessly to protect us and our communities. When is the last time you told a police officer how much you appreciate what he or she does to keep your community safe?

Teach Kids about Police

  • Invite a police officer to class to talk about what they do.
  • Learn about the jobs police do and have the class make cards for your local officers.
  • Explore different ways police do their jobs.
  • Teach them to be grateful for our police, not afraid of them.

The messaging for your students is the next time you see a police super hero, thank them for their time and sacrifice. Thank them for a job well done.

Have you thanked a school nurse lately?

Have you thanked a school nurse lately?

It can be hard to send our kids off into the great big world of school. As parents we worry about our kids. What if they get hurt? What if they get sick or feel sad and lonely? The ‘what if’s’ can be a really tough thing when we think of just how big the world can be. Knowing that when our kids go to school they have someone who can bandage their cuts and care for them until we can get there when they don’t feel well, can be a comfort. Here is why school nurses are champions.


  • Patience – working with a lot of kids every day can have its challenges. Especially when there are mini crises every day.
  • Sickness – How many people shy away from the thought of being in the room with sickness? School nurses do it all the time, caring for kids, knowing they could very well be the next one sick.
  • Blood – I’m not a huge fan. I can deal with it with my kids but I definitely could not handle dealing with playground injuries all the time. Nurses fearlessly clean up injuries, minor and major all the time.
  • Emergencies – Have you ever wondered what would happen if your kid fell and broke their arm? Or what would happen if they had an allergic reaction? The school nurse is there and trained to handle these emergencies, helping you feel safer while your child is away from you.
  • Comfort – When kids get hurt or sick they also get scared and sad. School nurses are there to comfort them when we cannot be there.

Every day school nurses work tirelessly to care for our children while they are away from us. This makes school nurses champions in our eyes.

Have you thanked a school nurse lately? Tell us how!

10 Simple Breakfast for Families on the Go

10 Simple Breakfast for Families on the Go

Last week we talked about the importance of a healthy breakfast. Sometimes it can be hard to come up with healthy yet different breakfasts that are still quick and easy. I wanted to write this post because I know many of you see hungry kids at the bus stop, or during the summer roaming the neighborhood. I know it’s hard to provide meals for everyone so I came up with 10 breakfast ideas that are EASY and STRESS free! Here are 10 easy and healthy breakfasts you can take on the go.


  • Peanut Butter Banana Toast – Nothing is better than a quick and easy breakfast that is still well balanced, flavorful, and easy to make.
    • Toast 2 slices whole grain bread.
    • Add a thin layer of peanut butter to each slice.
    • Top 1 slice with sliced bananas.
    • Put the slices together and you have a healthy and easy breakfast.
  • Fruit Parfait – Easy and delicious, these can be prepared the evening before. All you need to do is add the nuts or granola in the morning. Grab and go? Prep the night before and put a small baggie or container of granola with it. Don’t forget the spoon!
    • Yogurt – low fat, plain or vanilla. Plain yogurt is the healthiest.
    • Fruit – Berries, bananas, chunks of apple, mandarin slices, peaches, and dried cranberries are great options.
    • Granola or nuts
    • Layer your yogurt, then granola/nuts, then fruit. If you want, add a second layer.
  • Bagel Sandwich and fruit
    • Egg
    • Meat (optional)
    • Cheese (optional)

    Toast the bagel.
    While the bagel is toasting, fry the egg in just a little butter or oil.
    If using meat, a quick and easy way is to heat some lunch meat in the pan when the egg is finished.
    Add a slice of cheese to the egg or thin layer of cream cheese to the bagel.
    Assemble and eat or wrap to eat on the road.

  • Muffins and fruit
    • You can make any healthy muffins ahead of time.
    • Wrap them well in plastic, then store in the freezer in a freezer bag.
    • Pull your muffin out the evening before to defrost overnight or unwrap and put on a plate in the microwave for 30 seconds.

    Add a fruit cup or favorite fresh fruit. Add a handful of nuts for a protein boost.

  • Oatmeal with fruit and seeds – Make up some oatmeal and top it with fresh or dried fruit, and sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or nuts.
  • Veggie Toast
    • 2 slices whole grain toast
    • Cream Cheese
    • Cucumber slices or sweet pepper slices
    • Assemble as a sandwich.

    Healthy and delicious!

  • Yogurt, Fruit, and Toast
    • Container of yogurt
    • Fresh fruit or fruit cup
    • Toast with butter, cream cheese, or peanut butter
  • Cereal Choose a healthy cereal and add blueberries, strawberries, bananas or peaches for a healthy and flavorful breakfast.
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A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be difficult or take long to make. Try these 10 healthy breakfasts to start your morning off right and fuel your body for the day ahead of you.

We All Need Breakfast: 3 Reasons Why

We All Need Breakfast: 3 Reasons Why

Skipping breakfast is no big deal, right? After all, it’s kind of the smallest meal of the day, and you just got up so you can just power through until lunch. WRONG! It is so important to eat breakfast because that’s what gives you energy after a night of sleep. You wouldn’t go on a long car trip without putting gas in the car, right? If you did, you wouldn’t get very far. The same is true for breakfast. “Fueling” your body for the day ahead helps your day go better. Oh, and don’t think we are talking donuts here. We are talking about the importance of not only eating breakfast but making it a healthy breakfast.


  • Mood – Who doesn’t get grumpy when they need food? Hunger makes you grumpy, makes you think about how you feel, and keeps you from being able to pay complete attention to what’s going on around you, or being said to you, whether you are learning or working.
  • Concentration – Who can focus when their stomach is hungry? Those 10 minutes you save by not eating a healthy breakfast are not worth it. Without that healthy breakfast it will be harder for you to focus and give your complete attention to your tasks, which wastes more than 10 minutes in the long run. Studies show that adults are not as productive, and kids do not perform as well in school and at play when they haven’t had a healthy breakfast.
  • Weight – Eat more, weigh less. Well, it isn’t quite that easy, but eating a healthy breakfast can help you stay full/satisfied longer and help cut down on snacking. Note that it is important that your breakfast be healthy. Sugary cereals, pop tarts, and donuts aren’t going to cut it here. Even healthier carbohydrates all on their own will burn off quickly. Healthy cereal, whole grain toast, or oatmeal with fruit are breakfasts fit for champions but make sure you include fiber and protein in your breakfast. When you skip a meal you are also more likely to overeat at the next meal which also attributes to weight gain.

Next time you are about to head out the door without breakfast, stop and think first about just how important breakfast it. Take those few minutes to grab something healthy. Give your body the energy it needs so you can be healthier, happier, and more productive with your day.