1 in 5 american children face hunger: what can you do?
Today's episode on people who make a difference has highlighted the incredible impact both young and old can make around the world. It's the perfect day to share this post by Jennifer James, an early pioneer of the mom blogging movement and founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, a global coalition of mom bloggers who use social media and blogging to advance information to their networks about pressing global issues. The work Jennifer and her growing community of moms get involved with is truly inspiring. In a guest post, for TheRickiLakeShow.com, Jennifer writes about the silent issue of children going hungry, and what we can do about it.
Friend of Ricki Jennifer James: 1 in 5 U.S. Children Face Hunger: What Can You Do?
When you drop your child off at school or kiss them good-bye on their way out the door, chances are that one of their peers did not eat breakfast that morning. Teachers are seeing hungry children all across the nation from poor states in the South to large urban areas, even though hunger seems unfathomable in a nation with abundant food resources. “In these tough economic times you see people who were middle class or are working and you don’t know their kids may be hungry,” said Tom Nelson, President of Share Our Strength. In fact, 1 in 5 children will face hunger this year according to Hunger in Our Schools, a new report recently released by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
The current economy dictates that state funds are oftentimes scarce and reallocated in schools and some parents increasingly struggle to put food on the table. Of course, children bear the greatest brunt of the economic downturn. And, teachers are on the front line of seeing hungry children in their classrooms; some of whom rely on school lunches for their best or only meal of the day.
“Here in the United States, hunger is an invisible problem,” Nelson said. “When we think of hunger we think of the Third World with children who have extended bellies.”
While epidemic levels of hunger and malnutrition are not evident in the United States as we see in developing world Hunger in Our Schools reports 3 out of 5 teachers in kindergarten through 8th grade across the country say children regularly come to school hungry. To remedy this, 53% of teachers are, on average, paying $26 a week out of their own pockets to feed their students. They realize children will not concentrate or learn if they are battling headaches and empty stomachs.
Across the country there are school breakfast programs for low-income students, but those programs are often problematic because children need to get to school extra early to eat and there is a negative poverty stigma that accompanies these programs. According to the report, of the 20 million children who received school lunch, only 9.7 million of them ate breakfast at school. Most surveyed teachers believe breakfast should be served to all children in the first ten minutes before school starts so every child eats and breakfast is equal with no stigma being placed on students from low-income families.
Despite these startling child hunger statistics here in the United States there are many things parents can do to help those in need. Tom Nelson recommends making contributions to local food banks, take breakfast to your child’s school and become an active, vocal advocate of the Farm Bill that is currently stuck in gridlock in Washington, DC.
To learn more visit NoKidHungry.org.