‘Be A Champion’ Program Brings After-school Meals to CHS


A non-profit, Houston-based organization called Be A Champion is partnering with Calallen ISD to ensure that every student has the opportunity to eat a healthy after-school meal. Be A Champion’s paid staff began serving after-school meals today, which will continue daily from 4 to 5:45 p.m.

Quality Assurance Representative Sarah Martinez approached Calallen administration earlier this semester to offer Be A Champion’s services.

When we heard the presentation, it seemed too good to be true.”

— Dr. Danaher

“When we heard the presentation, it seemed too good to be true,” Deputy Superintendent Dr. Anita Danaher said. “I think this is a great opportunity to provide a nutritious afternoon meal to our students that are staying after school for whatever reason.”

Be A Champion is able to provide free meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and since the meals will be available right after school, students are able to grab a quick bite without interfering with instruction time.

“There doesn’t appear to be a downside to this program,” Danaher said.

Teachers or coaches hosting an after school tutorial or practice must turn in a roster with students’ names who will then be allowed to pick up a free meal. The high school GCS teacher, Mrs. Elmore, is also looking forward to the addition of this new program because it will allow more time for instruction.

“My after school kids would leave the room in search of food, either from CIS or the vending machines.  Often they take more than 15 minutes in this endeavor,” she said. “Kids are always hungry after school and this allows them to focus on work rather than growling tummies.”

The Be A Champion program began in 2001 by two former offensive linemen for the University of Houston, Jaron Barganier and James Hong. The founders began providing meals to the Houston area and have now expanded to include other parts of Texas.

“We currently partner with a number of schools in the Coastal Bend, from Pawnee to Skidmore, to Corpus Christi Montessori,” Martinez said.

These meals will only be provided to CHS and CMS students because elementary kids in the latchkey program already receive after-school snacks.

“I think it will meet the needs of a very diverse population,” Danaher said. “Some students do not have access to an evening meal; this will be a great opportunity for them. It will benefit athletes, students attending tutorials, band, cheerleaders, Topcats, and the list goes on and on.”

Sarah Martinez says the free after school meal make such a positive difference in the lives of students, especially those who may not have a lot to go home to.

“We will offer a variety of meals that include but not limited to turkey sticks, sub sandwiches, lunchables, yogurt, sunflower seeds, juices, fruit, veggies, cheese sticks and milk,” she said. “We are hoping to serve 600 meals at the two campuses.”