I used to volunteer in my daughter's classroom. One little girl was always cranky, had a problem paying attention, and one morning I realized that noise I heard was her stomach growling! That was when hunger in the suburbs hit home. Not my home, but one down the street from me. In a relatively affluent suburb. A little girl went to school hungry. And as I learned more about the problem I found that she wasn't the only one.
Share Our Strength released its 2012 Annual Teacher's Survey it reported that "a majority of teachers say they have kids in their classes who regularly come to school hungry." How do we expect kids to pay attention, to learn to the best of their abilities when they are worrying about such basics as having enough food to eat? No child should have this worry. The impact hunger has on students is devastating, whether it's constant illness, behavior issues, or an inability to concentrate.
What can you do?
- Contact your local lawmakers. Let them know fighting hunger in schools is a priority. Give them the details of why they should fund school breakfast programs.
- Support school breakfasts in your school district. Supporting school breakfasts helps reduce the behavior problems in our classrooms (so all our children can learn better) and lets all students concentrate on learning, not how hungry they feel.
- Help teachers spread the word about the program so there is no stigma attached to having breakfast at school. For parents sometimes one of the hardest things to do is ask for help.
- Have your PTA/PTO support stop hunger initiatives.
- Support a healthy snack program in your schools. Whether it is school provided or parent provided, encouraging healthy snacks encouraging a better learning environment.
- Support your local food bank or church bread basket. Make it a family project to find healthy inexpensive items to donate to food banks. Use couponing to make this financially feasible for you.