Simone Biles co-leads Buckets for Breakfast challenge in Spring

Simone Biles took a break from backflips on Friday morning and tried her hand at basketball with some Houston-area high schoolers. The five-time Olympic medalist met with students from Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School at her family’s Spring gymnastic center as part of the Buckets for Breakfast campaign.

Sponsored by Kellogg's and No Kid Hungry, Buckets for Breakfast aimed to raise awareness of childhood food insecurity around the country. During the challenge, Biles and students made trick shots to earn the school up to $5,000.

“I thought it was a good cause because I think now a lot of kids skip breakfast because [it’s] too early for school or, this and that,” Biles said. “And some people just can’t provide it. So the schools do that for them and I think it’s important.”

Food insecurity is a term used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to describe a condition of limited food quantity, quality or variety of diet, or disrupted eating patterns. In 2016, Harris NEWCounty had a food insecurity rate of 17.5 percent, compared to the national rate of 14.3 percent, according to the Houston Food Bank.

By comparison, Fort Bend’s rate was 15 percent, Montgomery and Brazoria counties had 15.2 percent food insecurity rates, Waller County’s rate was 19 percent, and Galveston County’s was 17.7 percent.

The Spring event was held in conjunction with another Buckets for Breakfast challenge in Chicago, where Chicago Bulls player and Tomball native Jimmy Butler led students to show off their trick shots. Biles said she has remained in the Greater Houston area to live, train and advocate because it is her home, first and foremost.

“I think it’s important for me to start out here, first,” she said.

She has also done charity work with foster children and youth with life-threatening illnesses. When asked why she frequently lends her support for organizations that serve young people, she said it had to do with the following around gymnastics.

“I think with the sport that I do, our fan base and our base is mainly around kids,” the 19-year-old said. “I love working with kids. I think they’re the cutest.”

As for her own favorite breakfast, when she is not in training, Biles had one answer: “I do love pancakes.”