I am a bit late to share this message but I suppose celebrating the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in real life, and not online, is a good enough reason. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and the national day of service in his honor, going forward I chose to use my blog and voice to make more people aware of No Kid Hungry.
I learned of No Kid Hungry pretty randomly. The actor Jeff Bridges appeared on a late night talk show to discuss his latest film last August. I am a fan. I do not remember the name of the film but I remember he championed a cause I was happy to know had become one: Breakfast After the Bell, a mandate to promote feeding children before school in order to prepare them for successful days. Not too long after, I became aware of actress Viola Davis’s painful struggles with childhood hunger, so shocked and moved by her story I wrote a personal narrative essay about it in here. When I began to research their causes, Breakfast After the Bell and Hunger Is respectively, I became aware of No Kid Hungry (for whom Bridges is also a spokesperson).
As a teacher in schools, and even summer arts camps and afterschool programs, I remain astonished by the degree many kids truly depend on school lunch and afterschool snacks to tackle hunger pangs. Sometimes, other teachers and I collaborated on hot easy meals to make in class as group projects to sow teamwork. Other times, we used pizza parties and other food-centered breaks as part of motivational reward systems. I would like to think it is my perfect attendance, commitment to kids and first-rate knowledge base that keeps me a popular staff member anywhere I teach or appear.
However, I do know my tendency to stock “snacks” (boxes of raisins, dried fruit, mini candy bars, granola bars, trail mix packs, pretzel tubs, etc…) has a lot to do with it. Beneath the fun and strategy of bringing or keeping food around is a sinister truth: many of the kids are really hungry and need the food. They are waiting on it and depending on it. During the weekend, they do not have school food- so they show up Monday exhausted and lazy and confused.
Like Viola confided to her public, the children latch on to teachers or other kids who have food in the same way she knew which mothers were most likely to serve snacks after school. We can not comprehend starvation in America, but it is here. Either these kids do not eat much or regularly at all outside of school hours or they eat food full of empty calories, salt and sugar. This leads to the behavioral and mental problems schools waste half time and resources to manage, as opposed to educating and building powerful citizens for the future. This has been a problem since I was in school, so there is no reason to think governments will change it. Concerned people and independent entities must take this on.
If you want to be part of No Kid Hungry’s push to spread this reality, raise awareness and increase donations to put food in some of the most challenged schools and environments, participate in their Blog Team. For information and resources on how to do so, visit Here.