- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (AP) - Students at a Pass Christian school received quite a surprise Wednesday when former Saints running back Deuce McAllister visited them to congratulate their big win in a statewide contest.

WLOX-TV reports (https://bit.ly/1o71CIC ) McAllister showed up at Pass Christian Elementary and Middle schools to encourage students healthy eating, which in turn helps with overall learning.

“Just trying to encourage kids to eat healthy and then be able to play and learn,” McAllister said when asked about the visit. “I think it’s great for our state.”

More than 300 schools entered the Mississippi Breakfast Challenge, sponsored by the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. Pass Christian came out on top and received a check for $1,500.

The cafeteria saw an increase of 8.73 percent in students eating breakfast form September and October of 2014 to the same months last year.

McAllister said healthy living is a passion of his that includes starting the day with a healthy meal.

“If you can set some great habits early on, then I think it only makes it easier for you,” he said.

According to Southeast Dairy’s Cathi Deveer, the effort encourages schools to shake up their strategies. “We know that numbers go down when schools don’t offer alternate options for breakfast,” said Deveer.

Pass Christian has different options for breakfast. Three to be precise. “Grab and go breakfast, breakfast in the classroom, then breakfast sitting in here,” said Saundra Isabelle pointing to the cafeteria around her.

As director of the school’s Food Services, Isabelle had a direct impact on bringing the numbers up. “It brings me joy to see that all the work we did, it paid off. To get this award, it paid off,” she said.

The money will go toward continued improvement of the school’s nutrition programs.

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Information from: WLOX-TV, https://www.wlox.com


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