News and events

Lt. Governor raises awareness for child nutrition programs

From Right to Left: Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD), Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Matt Coatar, Executive Director of Feeding Illinois, and Nicole Robinson, VP of Community Impact (GCFD)

3/10/17 – In accordance with School Breakfast Week, Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti teamed up with No Kid Hungry Illinois, and the Illinois State Board of Education for an event to raise awareness for the Breakfast After the Bell and Summer Meals Program. Legislators gathered over breakfast in the State Capitol Rotunda to learn how they can help increase access to and provide children with nutritious meals year-round. Legislators were asked to encourage schools to implement Breakfast After the Bell Programs by hosting a breakfast round-table and to identify potential Summer Meal sites in their districts.

Starting in the 2017-18 school year the new Breakfast After the Bell law will help connect thousands of Illinois students with a healthy breakfast. The law will make breakfast an official part of the school day for every public school in which at least 70% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

The Summer Meals Program is a federally-funded program that provides healthy nutritious meals to kids, age 18 and younger during the summer months so their bodies and minds are healthy, strong and ready for the next school year.

The event was covered by the Journal Courier . The 2017 Illinois School Breakfast Report was also officially released at the event!

Breakfast After the Bell: Important to Student Learning

Kendall County NOW  highlights the Breakfast After the Bell law ahead of National School Breakfast Week. The news article talks about the Breakfast After the Bell legislation, the importance of breakfast to student learning, and the partnership between Rise & Shine IL and the U of I Extension to help schools implement Breakfast After the Bell programs so schools will be ready when the Breakfast After the Bell law takes effect in the 2017-18 school year. Read the full story HERE.

School Breakfast Week To Do List

5 things you can do during breakfast week to bring awareness:


1. Change your profile picture on Facebook to the above to support school breakfast week
2. Copy and paste the following message on Facebook:
3.  Scroll down to the bottom of this page and sign-up to receive the Rise & Shine IL Newsletter
4. Start your school breakfast grant application
5. Tell one colleague or friend to visit the Rise & Shine IL website

2017 Grant Opportunities: Breakfast, Summer, and After-School

School Breakfast Grant

School Breakfast Grants will support schools implementing or preparing to implement a Breakfast After the Bell delivery model (Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab ‘N’ Go, or Second Chance Breakfast) with the purchase of approved equipment, supplies, or materials in an effort to increase student participation in school breakfast. Maximum request amount is $5,000. Deadline to apply is March 22. For more information: 2017 Breakfast Meals Grant Application-IL

Summer Meals Grant

Summer Meal Grants are funded from No Kid Hungry to help organizations expand access to and participation in USDA-supported summer meals programs. Eligible applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization currently in good standing AND an SFSP or NSLP summer meal program sponsor for summer 2016. The goal is to increase the number of children participating in SFSP/NSLP summer meals programs. Maximum request amount is $5,000. Deadline to apply is April 7.  For more information: 2017 Summer Meals Grant Application-IL 

After-School Meals Grant

After-School Meal Grants are funded through No Kid Hungry to help At-Risk After-School Meal (aka “Supper”) sponsors expand participation in After-School meals and extended day meal programs that receive reimbursement through the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The overall goal is to help ensure all children get the nutritious meals they need each day. Eligible applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit currently in good standing, schools, local government agencies able to accept grants, or churches/tax-exempt religious organizations AND approved to provide CACFP At-Risk After-School Meals for the upcoming school year. The maximum request amount is $2,500. Deadline to apply is March 22. For more information: 2017 Afterschool Meals Grant Application-IL

Breakfast After the Bell kick-off event

Rise & Shine Illinois and be Powered by Breakfast

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Rep. Will Davis joined school breakfast champions in Joliet, January 19, 2017 to celebrate the Breakfast After the Bell Program kick-off event. The new Breakfast After the Bell law will enable children at 890 schools in Illinois to access school breakfast. Starting in the 2017-18 school year breakfast will be provided after the instructional day begins by public schools in which at least 70% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Rep. Will Davis, Lt. Gov. Sanguenetti, and Nicole Robinson, Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Vice President of Community Impact

Representative Will Davis received a School Breakfast Champion Appreciation Award from Rise and Shine Illinois for his leadership on the Breakfast After the Bell bill. Throughout the day School Breakfast Champions kept the breakfast bus moving full steam ahead discussing ideas and strategies to empower schools to successfully implement Breakfast After the Bell programs.

School Breakfast Champions

2017 Summer Meals Information Sessions

Summer Meals Program

Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti spoke at a Summer Meals Information Session Wednesday, January 18th in Joliet to urge more nonprofit organizations in Will County to serve as sites for the Summer Meals Program. Click here to read the Herald-News article.

The Illinois State Board of Education in partnership with No Kid Hungry, Illinois, seeks nonprofit organizations to serve as sponsors and sites for the Summer Meals Program. The federally funded program provides healthy nutritious meals to kids, age 18 and younger. Children need healthy food all year long in order to grow and learn. During the school year, many Illinois children receive free- and reduced-price meals through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. But, when school is out for the summer, these same children are at risk of hunger or poor nutrition.

The Summer Meals program is designed to ensure that children have access to the nutritious meals they need during the summer months so their bodies and minds are healthy, strong and ready for the next school year.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor, a feeding site or wanting to promote the program are welcome to attend.

Register Today!

Contact the Nutrition and Wellness Division at the Illinois State Board of Education, (800) 545-7892.

2017 Dates & Locations

Tuesday, January 31
2:00 p.m.
Champaign County Health Department
201 W. Kenyon, Champaign

Wednesday, February 1
2:00 p.m.
University of Illinois Extension
1 Regency Plaza, Suite 200, Collinsville

Wednesday, February 8
10:00 a.m.
Lincoln Elementary School District 27
304 8th Street, Lincoln

Wednesday, February 8
2:00 p.m.
Fondulac Library
400 Richland Street (City Hall Building), East Peoria

Thursday, February 16
2:00 p.m.
Addison Public Library
4 Friendship Plaza, Addison

Tuesday, February 21
2:00 p.m.
LaSalle County University of Illinois Extension Office
1689 N. 31st Road, Ottawa

District 186 Prepared To Feed Students In Wake Of New Law

Breakfast After the Bell

Matheny Withrow Elementary School in Springfield School District 186 implemented a Breakfast After the Bell program ahead of the new Breakfast After the Bell law. Under the law every public school in which at least 70% of the students are eligible for free or reduced – price meals must serve breakfast after the instructional day begins. Breakfast After the Bell goes into effect in the 2017 – 18 school year.

Click here to read Fox Illinois article on Matheny Withrow Elementary and how the students and school are benefiting from Breakfast After the Bell.

The path to passing a breakfast bill for 175,000 students

By Bob Dolgan
Campaign Manager

The path to the passage of SB2393 began in a conference room in Chicago in the Spring of 2015. It was soon after the election of a new Governor and several new members of the General Assembly, and few people in the state knew what to expect. The existing No Kid Hungry capacity-building strategy was making progress, but it was clear that updated legislation would be the swiftest way to provide breakfast to more children and lift Illinois’ breakfast ranking from 42nd. It also was clear that more research was needed to determine any costs a new breakfast bill would pass on to school districts. The Illinois No Kid Hungry team began drafting a school breakfast resolution, with the support of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger’s No Kid Hungry Working Group and the national office of Share Our Strength. The nonbinding breakfast resolution passed the Illinois Senate and House later in the spring, with the support of champion-advocates during Illinois Lobby Day.

The breakfast resolution promised that the No Kid Hungry Working Group would “provide the General Assembly with a report showing the impact of providing alternative breakfast models” by November 4, 2015. The Illinois No Kid Hungry team and the Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance then analyzed data from the Illinois State Board of Education and the School Nutrition Association and concluded that 97% of school districts would have positive revenue by serving breakfast. Updated school breakfast legislation had long been part of the Illinois No Kid Hungry strategy, but by November we had the data to back up our assumptions and assuage legislators’ concerns.

The bill moved quickly after it was introduced in January. Momentum kept growing this spring, culminating with 300-plus pantry volunteers and other supporters rallying at the Capitol on May 11. The bill ultimately passed both chambers unanimously because of a broad coalition of partners in every part of Illinois. We’re grateful for everyone who helped us along the way. SB2393 gives us hope that Illinois can pass similar bipartisan bills in the future that benefit children while utilizing a research-based approach.

View our press release about the passage of SB2393 (June 3, 2016)

School breakfast: the societal benefit

New report shows Illinois ranks 42nd

Parachute Food - 2
By Bob Dolgan
Campaign Manager

The Illinois State Board of Education Annual Report states that 2,054,556 students were enrolled in Illinois public schools in 2014-2015. In our view, every one of those students deserves an opportunity for a better future. The playing field, though, is uneven for many children, whether due to their own family’s challenges or due to schools’ administrative and funding barriers. As a child advocacy campaign, we can’t control every variable. But we can work to access every resource available to low-income children. It’s our responsibility to give our children and our neighbors’ children a fair chance at success.

A nutritious meal at the start of the school day means that a child is more likely to be properly nourished and able to focus, absorb the lessons being presented and retain the knowledge needed to excel. It’s not an overstatement to say that serving school breakfast can be the first step to a brighter future long-term. The impacts of hunger on brain development in formative years are well documented. And some research connects school breakfast to higher scores on achievement tests. Children who miss meals regularly, especially breakfast, are more likely to be held back a grade, receive special education services and mental health counseling. If the core functional benefit of breakfast is to sate hunger pangs among already at-risk children, the higher purpose is dignity and respect: a quality meal is something that everyone deserves, three times every day. What message do we send by ignoring a program that was enacted by Senators and Representatives and endorsed by Presidents, for the very purpose of aiding low-income children?

The arguments against school breakfast are many, and often soporific. We’ve seen firsthand how skeptical attitudes toward school breakfast change with positive impacts on attendance, tardiness and school wellness. As one teacher told us, “Our day actually gets started quicker than it used to, and calmer.” The Rise and Shine Illinois campaign exists to make setting up a breakfast program easy: we can develop solutions for any school and have the resources to provide schools grant funding for breakfast infrastructure. There are few reasons not to serve breakfast at school.

Today we release breakfast data showing that Illinois ranks 42nd in the nation in serving school breakfast. While average daily participation has increased slightly, the balkanized structure of our 859 school districts makes direct, local advocacy for breakfast district-by-district expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, this spring we will introduce legislation in Springfield that requires schools to serve fully federally funded breakfasts. We will follow up until every eligible child receives a meal at the start of the school day. Providing breakfast is a small step among many needed to enhance our education system, but by valuing every child and nurturing every child individually we have a chance to make progress. And that’s a benefit for all of society.

View the 2015 Rise and Shine Illinois Breakfast Report
View 2014-2015 breakfast data for the top 100 school districts in Illinois
Press release: School Breakfast Program reaching more children in Illinois, yet opportunities remain 2.16.16