BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards launched the "No Kid Hungry in Louisiana" initiative Thursday morning.
All K-12 schools in Louisiana are encouraged to sign up for the Louisiana School Breakfast Challenge.
"Donna and I are very excited to kick-off this initiative and shine a light on a very serious problem impacting thousands of children across Louisiana," said Gov. Edwards. "One in four children in Louisiana struggles with hunger and we have the second highest food insecurity in the nation."
The project aims to expand the access children have to nutritious meals in the state.
"The need in our state is great, but I know we have the resources and capacity to meet that need," said Gov. Edwards. "I commend schools around the state for doing their part in taking better care of our children and ensuring that they get a healthy start to the day and life."
In 2014, nearly 272,760 children are impacted by childhood hunger, according to statistics provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.
"As a former teacher, I have seen first-hand what can happen when children attend school without having enough to eat," said First Lady Donna Edwards. "It impacts them in many ways. When kids get regular healthy meals they do better on tests, have fewer discipline and health problems and are more likely to graduate from high school. This is a solvable problem, and we are proud to work with partners from the corporate, government and nonprofit worlds to launch the Louisiana Breakfast Challenge across the state."
The program was initially launched in Orleans Parish in 2010.
"So far, there has been a 60 percent increase in school breakfast participation rates with 9,650 more kids eating breakfast in Orleans Parish, and we are looking forward to expanding this work across the state so more of our kids can get a healthy start each school day," said Rhonda M. Jackson, No Kid Hungry Louisiana director.
The announcement about the expansion of the program took place at Wildwood Elementary School in Baton Rouge.