16 September 2013

It's Hard to Learn When You're Hungry

As a person who benefited from free lunch programs at various points during my childhood, and having spent every year of my teaching career in schools with high poverty levels, I feel strongly about the importance of ensuring kids aren't hungry because it's hard to learn when you're hungry.   (NOTE: I never went hungry) 100% of my students on the reservation in North Carolina were offered free lunch and breakfast daily, and 53 % of my students in an urban school in Kentucky qualified for free or reduced lunch.  As a teacher of these varied groups of teenagers, I can remember plenty of times when the granola bars or crackers in my desk drawer were gratefully consumed. 

This past July I had the opportunity to hear Billy Shore speak at a conference in Seattle.  His message was moving because his organization, No Kid Hungry, has data to back its programming, and it's not just a tug on your heart strings approach to gaining donors.

When I learned September is Hunger Action Month, I felt compelled to take action by
educating readers of my blog about childhood hunger, by twEATing, and by eating out at restaurants that are donating money to the No Kid Hungry campaign this month.

Hunger  programs abound to target worldwide hunger and the startling statistics and reality that hunger kills more people per year than AIDS, malaria, and tubercluosis combined.  More than 870 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.
Indeed the statistics in developing countries are worse than those in America, and most certainly they need our attention.  By the same token, we must remember and address the fact that 1 in 6 people in America are hungry.  The documentary A Place at the Table explores and investigates the story of hunger in America.

No Kid Hungry's approach involves connecting kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals.  The campaign also engages the public to support public programs that address childhood hunger. 

Parents, educators, and citizens of the Unites States, you can learn more about how to help a school participate in addressing hunger.  Fellow educators can check out this infographic with ideas about how we can help.