A few weeks ago, my kids had a lesson in compassion as they put together Love Lunches for our community. We talk quite a bit about gratitude, particularly as it relates to food, and I always remind my kids (especially when they are protesting the day’s meal) that there are kids right here in our community who don’t have the certainty of knowing where their next meal will come from.
Hunger in America
In America, 1 in 6 kids do not have regular access to sufficient nutrition. These children attend school regularly without food in their stomach because there isn’t enough to eat at home. The less than handful of times my kids and I have been so pressed for time that we ate breakfast on-the-go resulted in very cranky kids. I can only imagine how difficult it is for kids to focus on learning when they are hungry.
More than half of the children who qualify for free school breakfast aren’t receiving it. Teachers know that hungry kids cannot learn. Research shows that America’s teachers are spending an average of $300 each year from their own pockets to buy food for their students.
In the state of California, 1 in 6 kids lives with hunger. And in our local community of Orange County, over 300,000 people are at risk or struggle with hunger every single month, and not surprisingly, one in six of those are children. In our seemingly affluent community of Orange County, nearly half of all public school children rely on reduced or free school lunches for their major source of nutrition. The reality as that these kids may be going to bed hungry on weekends and during summer vacation.
Families are taxed to make the difficult choice between food and basic necessities. What is most surprising about hunger is that it isn’t solely constrained to the homeless you might see on your streets. Seniors on fixed incomes, single parents, those who find themselves temporarily unemployed and even hard-working adults all comprise a population struggling to provide food for themselves and their families.
In previous years, both of my children have accompanied me on visits to our local food bank to drop off canned goods and non-perishable food items. More than just a chat at the dinner table, I want my kids to understand how important it is to help others in need, and nothing resonates more than real-life, hands-on experiences.
Why Breakfast Matters
No Kid Hungry is working to alleviate childhood hunger in America through it’s school breakfast campaign. When breakfast is part of the regular school day (like lunch), it has a powerful effect on kids academically, socially, and emotionally.
- Kids Stay Focused: Studies show that grades and attendance rise when breakfast is served during the school day.
- No One is Singled Out: When everyone eats together, it creates a feeling of community in the classroom, and kids who need that morning meal no longer feel singled out as the “poor kids.”
- Getting to School is Easier: Getting to school early is a challenge for working families. Making breakfast part of the regular school day solves that problem.
How No Kid Hungry Provides Hope…and Meals
No Kid Hungry is fervently at work to solve childhood hunger in America. Their programs are working to provide kids with the food they need. Los Angeles has the nation’s second largest public school district, and is the only one that provides a healthy breakfast after the bell to every student.
No Kid Hungry knows that the most effective way to feed hungry kids to to change how schools serve breakfast. Making breakfast part of the school day ensures that more kids will be fed. Through partnerships with Kellogg’s, Citi, Amazon, and General Mills, No Kid Hungry is ensuring that every kids is Powered by Breakfast every single day.
How You Can Help Fight Hunger in America
Are you looking to make a difference in a child’s life and join the fight against hunger in America? Here is how you can be involved.
- Donate: Did you know? Every $50 dollars you give can provide up to 500 meals for a child who is still facing hunger. Plus your gift is tax-deductible.
- Fundraise: Join a No Kid Hungry existing community of local fundraisers or dream up your own.
- Attend an Event: Attend a No Kid Hungry event or enjoy a fantastic dinner at one of the many restaurants that support their work across the country. Restaurants include Shake Shack, BJ’s, The Habit, and more.
For more information, visit NoKidHungry.org.