Author Archive: Rise & Shine Illinois

Local ad agency announces Rise & Shine campaign

Downtown Partners Chicago launches ad campaign to spotlight student hunger

By Lewis Lazare, Chicago Business Journal

NOVEMBER 20, 2014 — The holidays are one of the most important times of the year for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which has as its goal ensuring that local residents do not have to experience the hardships of going hungry.

The Food Depository recently recruited Downtown Partners Chicago to create an ad campaign and a website that focus attention on one of the Depository’s newest programs to prevent hunger — Rise and Shine Illinois.

Launched earlier this fall, Rise and Shire aims to make free breakfasts widely available in schools for young children who may not be living in a household where they can get that important first meal of the day.

In announcing the new school breakfast program in September, Greater Chicago Food Depository CEO Kate Maehr said: “We believe school breakfast is a critical tool in addressing hunger. Making breakfast available gives children the nutrients and energy they need to thrive in an academic setting.” (more…)

No Kid Hungry “heard” at Illinois State Board budget hearing

Representing the No Kid Hungry campaign, Michelle Knight, from the St. Louis Area Food Bank,  encourages the state board to increase funding for school-based nutrition programs, including the expansion of school breakfast programs and alternative breakfast models.

Final ISBE budget hearing at the Thompson Center this Friday, 11/22 in Chicago.

Illinois State Board hears community input for education budget

November 17, 2014

— The students sporting navy blue jackets with the words Illinois FFA across the back were on a mission Monday afternoon to advocate for funding for agriculture education.

The high school students from Edwardsville, Mascoutah and Highland spoke to representatives of the Illinois State Board of Education during a public hearing for the fiscal year 2016 budget held at Granite City High School.

Ashlyn Gietl, president of the Highland FFA, said she’s greatly benefited from the agriculture education she’s received at Highland High School.

“If we had no agricultural program at my school, I would never have the passion for agriculture that I do now,” she said.

Kevin Eschmann, agriculture instructor at Mascoutah High, said the number of students interested in agriculture education has increased, and funding is a “vital component” of future success of the agriculture programs at area high schools.

He said agriculture classes offer students a “valuable education” as they incorporate several different components including technology, science and English.

Several community members and educators in attendance advocated for additional funding for early childhood education.

Bernadette Schrempp, an assistant state’s attorney in St. Clair County, said helping children develop “critical social and cognitive skills in the first five years of life not only helps them succeed in school, it cuts crime.”

Schrempp, on behalf of St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, urged the state board to continue its commitment to the Early Childhood Block Grant.

Sherri O’Toole, a family coach with Children’s Home and Aid, also spoke in favor of more early childhood funding.

O’Toole said she’s seen firsthand how metro-east families and children, ages 0-3, benefit from early developmental screenings, which can often uncover learning challenges that might not have been discovered until the child started kindergarten.

Illinois State Board of Education member James Baumann, who served as moderator of Monday’s hearing, said early childhood education is important. “We know it makes a difference,” he said.

Tricia Blackard, a teacher at Collinsville Area Vocational Center, encouraged state board members to fund Career and Technology Education programs, which provide students skills area employers are seeking.

“Don’t forget how important CTE is to students, the surrounding community and employers,” she said.

Michelle Knight, an advocacy coordinator for St. Louis Area Food Bank, spoke on behalf of No Kid Hungry Illinois and the need to fund school-based nutrition programs.

“A well-nourished child is better prepared for the school day,” she said.

Knight encouraged the state board to expand the school breakfast program and implement some alternative breakfast models. Currently, she said only 44 percent of children eligible to get free breakfast at schools in Illinois are receiving it.

The purpose of the hearing Monday was to gather public input on what education needs should be a priority as the board prepares its fiscal year 2016 education budget recommendation for the governor and general assembly.

The board’s Finance and Audit Committee hosted four public hearing thus far including the one in Granite City. The fifth and final hearing will be Friday in Chicago.

The public hearing Monday also provided area residents an opportunity to voice their support or opposition to Senate Bill 16, which was introduced in April and aims to change the method of distribution of state funds to the state’s 857 school districts.

According to figures released earlier this year by ISBE, some metro-east school districts will benefit greatly from Senate Bill 16, if approved, while others will lose funding if the school funding formula is altered by the state legislature.

Jim Greenwald, superintendent of Granite City Community Unit School District 9, spoke in favor of the bill. He said it “better directs existing state money in a more equitable manner.”

District 9 has been forced to borrow more than $9 million over the past several years. If the inadequate level of funding continues from the state, Greenwald said the district will be forced to make “drastic cuts in the future.”

Like Greenwald, Victor Buehler, superintendent of Bunker Hill Community Unit District 8, said the proposed legislation would more equitably distribute funds to Illinois school districts.

Brad Skertich, superintendent of Southwestern Community Unit School District 9, also supports Senate Bill 16. “Proration has unfairly targeted proration-dependent districts,” he said.

Instead of funding the per student state aid at 100 percent, Illinois has prorated its general state aid to school districts since 2009.

Skertich said Senate Bill 16 provides a much-needed change to the school funding formula. “The inadequate funding cannot continue. It’s time for the state board to take a stand,” he said. “Our kids deserve better. This is an adult problem, and our kids are suffering.”

Testimony from the budget hearings regarding Senate Bill 16 will be shared with legislators and state board staff. Those who were unable to attend the public hearing are encouraged to email any guidance or feedback to ISBE at

Read more here:

Breakfast Grant Application Deadline – December 15th, 2014

The December 15th, 2014 No Kid Hungry IL grant application deadline is approaching!  To be connected with a School Breakfast Coordinator and begin the application process, please click here or email  See grant details below:


Grants will support schools with the purchase of approved equipment, materials and initiatives facilitating alternative breakfast delivery models (such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab n’ Go, or Second Chance Breakfast) in an effort to increase child participation in universal School Breakfast.


Applying schools must either be implementing or be prepared to implement an alternative breakfast delivery model. Successful models include collaboration of everyone in the school district; including the School Principal, Teachers, the Food Service Nutrition Director, and the Superintendent. All applications must have authorized approval by the School Principal and Food Service Nutrition Director.

Application Due Date:

We will accept applications on a rolling basis through quarterly deadlines: April 30, June 30, September 15, December 15. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received and will be given thoughtful consideration based on need and commitment to expanding participation in School Breakfast.


Grant funding must be used for equipment, supplies or materials associated with expanding the School Breakfast program, specifically the implementation of an alternative breakfast delivery model.

Allowable uses include (but are not limited to):

The purchase of equipment, such as insulated bags and Grab N Go carts; and the purchase of supplies, such as trash cans and bags or other items associated with operating the breakfast program.


Grants should be requested for the amount discussed with your community’s breakfast coordinator. All applicants must submit a complete application; incomplete applications will not be considered.

Grant applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Adherence to eligibility and requirements guidelines
  • Program sustainability beyond the grant funding period
  • Growth potential for breakfast participation

Additional grants are available to help start or expand your school’s breakfast program.

Summer Meal Program Summits Announced

When their school meals disappear, many kids struggle
with getting enough to eat in the summer

In light of our mission to end childhood hunger through school programs like Rise & Shine Illinois, No Kid Hungry Illinois is also committed to implementing and supporting summer meals programs.  For too many children, summer brings uncertainty about where and when they’ll have access to healthy food.  While federal nutrition programs do operate during the summer months, they only reach a fraction of kids in need. 

No Kid Hungry Illinois, in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education and the USDA is conducting three summits in October 2014 to develop key for strategies for implementing and expanding summer meal programs throughout the state.  Our efforts will focus on modernizing and strengthening the way these programs work, further connecting communities and sponsors with the resources they need to serve critical meals during the summer.

Please see summit dates, locations and topics below.

All Summer Food Service Program sponsors are welcome to attend the summits.

“Roll Up Your Sleeves” Strategy Meeting Hosted by USDA
October 16th — 10:00am – 3:30pm
Marion, IL

October 23rd — 9:00am – 3:00pm
Springfield, IL

October 28th — 9:00am – 3:00pm
Tinley Park, IL

Topics include:
– 2014 Participation Results
– Grant Opportunities
– Community Partnerships
– Childhood Hunger Data
– Marketing to Increase Participation

For information and to register, please contact Suzy Lee at

‘Rise and Shine Illinois’ School Breakfast Program Launches

Hunger makes school harder: School breakfast campaign launches, urges teachers, parents
to request breakfast for their schools
More than 449,000 low-income Illinois children are at risk of starting their school day hungry;
Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab N Go enable schools to serve meals efficiently

CHICAGO, September 24, 2014 – Today marks the launch of a public affairs campaign that aims to make breakfast widely available in Illinois schools. In a series of advertisements, Rise and Shine Illinois urges teachers, parents and administrators to “request school breakfast.” More than 449,000 children who receive free and reduced-price lunch in Illinois do not receive school breakfast, ranking Illinois 36th in the nation according to the Food Research and Action Center. Studies show that children’s health and academics improve when they have breakfast at school.

“We believe school breakfast is a critical tool in addressing hunger,” said Kate Maehr, Co-Chair of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger and Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “Making breakfast available gives children the nutrients and energy they need to thrive in an academic setting.”

More than 1 in 5 children in Illinois is food insecure, meaning they’re unsure of when or where they will receive their next meal. More than 70 percent of teachers say they teach students who regularly come to school hungry because there isn’t enough food at home. While most schools serve breakfast, alternative models like Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab N Go make meals accessible to more children at the start of the day. Teachers and principals report seeing a noticeable increase in attendance and fewer discipline problems since incorporating breakfast programs. The Rise and Shine Illinois campaign encourages supporters to take action by visiting and filling out a form to start the breakfast outreach process at their school.

“Alternative breakfast models like `Breakfast in the Classroom’ and `Grab N Go’ are proven strategies that safely and efficiently make food accessible to schoolchildren,” said State Superintendent of Education, Christopher A. Koch.  “We encourage schools across the state to consider implementing these models as well as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which streamlines the meal application process for schools in low-income areas.”

Resources are available to schools and districts seeking to serve more children breakfast. School meals are reimbursed by the federal government through the National School Breakfast Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign provides schools in Illinois with technical assistance and grants for equipment and technology needs. An annual school breakfast challenge recognizes Illinois schools that demonstrate the highest increases in daily breakfast participation. The goal of the campaign is to provide breakfast for 38,000 more students by the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

“No child should start the school day hungry,” said Tim English, Regional Administrator, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Midwest Region. “We applaud the efforts of advocates across Illinois who are ensuring that children have the nutrition they need to excel in school.”

Rise and Shine Illinois is a partnership of No Kid Hungry Illinois, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Illinois State Board of Education, Central Illinois Foodbank, EverThrive Illinois, the Illinois Coalition for Community Services, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Midwest Dairy Council and St. Louis Area Foodbank. Working with Downtown Partners, a Chicago-based advertising agency, the campaign was developed in response to a recommendation of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger, created by legislation in 2010 and appointed by the Governor. Downtown Partners developed the ad campaign’s overall strategy, naming/branding, website and creative tactics to promote the initiative including television commercials, billboards, digital/social efforts as well as collateral pieces.

For more information, visit

Contact: Bob Dolgan, 773-843-7293, mobile: 773-447-1980,