Research shows that 1 in 6 children in the United States are living in households without regular access to enough food. The vast majority of these 13 million hungry children attend our nation’s public schools. Accordingly, 73% of teachers regularly observe hunger in their classroom, often purchasing snacks out-of-pocket to help feed students.
Hunger in children:
Existing meal programs — including breakfast, lunch, and after-school snack programs — only fill a portion of the hunger gap.
In Durham Public Schools, some elementary school students eat lunch as early as 10:30 a.m. This is their last scheduled meal until instruction ends at 3:30 p.m.
There are many food programs at the national, state and local levels working to end hunger. Despite these various programs, there remains a serious gap with food assistance in the classroom. The problem is most visible at snack time when some children bring healthy snacks, some bring low-quality “junk food” snacks, and still many others have nothing at all to eat. This disparity not only means that some children are undernourished or hungry but also has a social impact in the classroom.
Too often teachers dip into their own pockets to feed hungry students at snack time. Each year 2.25 million teachers spend an average of $33 a month to feed their hungry students. Collectively, teachers are spending a staggering $530 million out-of-pocket each year to provide food for their students.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our most basic needs are food, water, warmth, and rest. One must satisfy their lowest level needs before they can progress and meet higher level needs. A child who does not have his or her most basic needs met cannot be expected to progress and reach their fullest potential.
You can provide a child with a classroom of state-of-the-art technology, top-tier STEM programs, highly qualified teachers and more, however, if their base needs of food, water, warmth, and rest are not met, that child will never progress.
KidBright USA is harnessing the power of community to help teachers and students by delivering healthy snacks directly to the classroom so no student faces hunger during the day.
Additional Reading: Alaimo, K., et al. 2001. Food Insufficiency, Family Income, and Health in US Preschool and School-Aged Children. American Journal of Public Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446676/pdf/11344887.pdf Basch, C.E. 2011. Breakfast and the Achievement Gap Among Urban Minority Youth. Journal of School Health. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2011.00638.x/epdf Borradaile, K.E. 2009. Snacking in Children: The Role of Urban Corner Stores. Pediatrics. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/5/1293.short Boschloo, A. et al. 2012 The Relation Between Breakfast Skipping and School Performance in Adolescents. Mind, Brain, and Education. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-228X.2012.01138.x/full Casey, P. H. et al. 2006. The Association of Child and Household Food Insecurity With Childhood Overweight Status. Pediatrics. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/5/e1406.short Castellari, E. et al. 2016. Can providing a morning healthy snack help to reduce hunger during school time? Experimental evidence from an elementary school in Connecticut. Appetite. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019566631630085Xx Fu, M. et al. 2007. Association between Unhealthful Eating Patterns and Unfavorable Overall School Performance in Children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822307016203 Gundersen, C. et al, 2011. The impact of the National School Lunch Program on Child Health: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis. Journal of Econometrics. http://people.virginia.edu/~jvp3m/abstracts/SchoolLunch.pdf Jyoti, D.F., et al. 2005. Food Insecurity Affects School Children’s Academic Performance, Weight Gain, and Social Skills. The Journal of Nutrition. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/12/2831.short Nyaradi A., et al. 2013. The role of nutrition in children's neurocognitive development, from pregnancy through childhood. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3607807/ Prado, E.L., et al. 2014. Nutrition and brain development in early life. Nutrition Reviews. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-lookup/doi/10.1111/nure.12102 Stepansky, J., et al. 2014. Lunch starts before 11 a.m. at more than half of city schools. New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/lunch-starts-11-m-city-schools-article-1.1607765 Weinreb, L., et al. 2002. Hunger: Its impact on children’s health and mental health. Pediatrics. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/110/4/e41 Westervelt, E. 2013. These Days, School Lunch Hours Are More Like 15 Minutes. NPR. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/12/04/248511038/these-days-school-lunch-hours-are-more-like-15-minutes Winicki, J., et al. 2003. Food Insecurity and Hunger in the Kindergarten Classroom: Its Effect on Learning and Growth. Contemporary Economic Policy. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1093/cep/byg001/abstract