Pine Bluff School District is one of nine Arkansas districts to achieve Five to Thrive status, according to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and the Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign.

“Five to Thrive is a campaign, funded through a project contract from Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Natural Wonders Innovation Fund, developed to encourage school districts across the state to offer a variety of nutrition and physical activity programming to improve student health and academic outcomes,” according to a news release.

Districts received program funds and technical assistance to implement the program components by August, according to the release.

Components included:

1. Adopting Breakfast After the Bell and the Community Eligibility Provision (or similar universal breakfast program);

2. Serving or supporting USDA Summer and Afterschool meal programs;

3. Hosting Cooking Matters® or similar nutrition education programs;

4. Maintaining or starting school based pantries or weekend backpack programs;

5. Implementing an evidence-based physical activity program such as Go Noodle or Fuel up to Play 60.

“Becoming a Five to Thrive school district shows a real commitment to the health and wellness of students and families,” Patty Barker, Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign director, said. “The Alliance and No Kid Hungry campaign are committed to providing these districts ongoing support to help expand or enhance their programs and increase meal participation levels.”

“Research shows that when students have access to nutritious food where they live, learn and play, their academic outcomes are brighter. These Five to Thrive components offer a full complement of nutrition and physical activity programming to help students not only succeed but thrive,” according to the release.

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, the lead partner in Arkansas for the No Kid Hungry campaign, is a non-profit collaborative network of more than 520 hunger relief organizations across Arkansas.

The founding members include the Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock, the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro, Harvest Regional Food Bank in Texarkana, Food Bank of North Central Arkansas in Norfork, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Bethel Heights and River Valley Regional Food Bank in Fort Smith.