PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A former Saints player was on the coast Wednesday. Deuce McAllister visited Pass Christian schools this morning to congratulate the students on a big win in a statewide contest.
When you're the best at something, you usually get rewarded. In this case, Pass Christian Elementary and Middle Schools were best in the state at increasing breakfast participation.
The reward? A personal visit from NFL alum, Deuce McAllister. "Just trying to encourage kids to eat healthy and then be able to play and learn. I think it's great for our state," said McAllister.
The cafeteria saw an increase of 8.73% in students eating breakfast from September and October of 2014 to the same months in 2015.
McAllister said healthy living is a passion of his, and 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," said McAllister.
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 $1500.
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.
A payment that she said will go to continue improving the school's nutrition. The contest was made possible by dairy farm families of Mississippi.