It’s Friday Afternoon. Know Where Your Kids Are?

 I originally put this post up last February.  As we near the end of the school year, it’s important to consider just how important school lunch is to the nutritional needs of some kids.  And what is going to happen in a few weeks when summer vacation begins.

 

By Ed Nicholson                                                                           photo by eyeliam–Creative Commons

A colleague of mine came into the office last year with a compelling story.  Her eight year-old grandson frequently spent time with her on weekends. Often he was accompanied by a good friend: a normal looking kid; clean, well-dressed, well-mannered.. The friend had a voracious appetite, eating just about everything in his path.  When my colleague made a lighthearted comment about how much he could pack away, he said, “We don’t eat much at my house on the weekend.”   Turns out, life was pretty tough for this kid.  His single dad was making some choices that didn’t exactly put nutrition at the top of the priority list for his family.

Unfortunately, this kind of story is way too common in our land of plenty.

It’s Friday afternoon here in the Ozarks.  Along about the time this posts, school kids around the country will be eating lunch.  For some of them, it will be the last good meal they’ll have until Monday.  If  I’m reading the charts correctly, over 15 million kids participate in the free school lunch program.  For a lot of these kids, the school lunch program is their lifeline; there just aren’t three squares on the weekends and holidays. 

We know there are lots of stories about these kids out there.  If  you have one  and would like to tell it here, leave us a comment, and we’ll get with you.  You can guest post, or just let us tell it.

Meanwhile, there are lots of ways you can help.  Go to the Share Our Strength or Feeding America web sites.  Or go visit your local food bank. 

No kid should dread the weekend.

4 Replies to “It’s Friday Afternoon. Know Where Your Kids Are?”

  1. Myrita @ FreestoreFoodbank

    In the Greater Cincinnati region (SW Ohio, N Kentucky, SE Indiana) , we face the same struggles with childhood hunger.  To help ensure that as many children as possible have enough food to eat when not at school, the FreestoreFoodbank started a program called the Power Pack, which sends children home with nutritious, shelf stable snacks for the weekends.  Schools who are eligible for the Power Pack program must have 85% participation rate in free/reduced lunch programs, and we are seeing an epidemic need for programs like this.  Currently we’re giving over 2,900 Power Packs per month in 30 schools, but there are so many more schools that want to participate and children who need our help.  Thank you, Tyson, for helping us fight childhood hunger.  I’ll leave everyone with a story from one of our school site coordinators who passes out the  Power Packs to students:

    "I added a developmentally challenged Preschool student to the program today.  He was asked in class yesterday what he would do if he had $100, and he answered "Buy bread."  He cries when he gets on the bus to leave school because he knows he will be hungry at home.  We are so lucky to have this program to make sure that students do not go hungry."

  2. Sandi

    I live in the Quad Cities–Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois.  My children go to Bettendorf schools and my younget two attend an elementary school with a very diverse student body–$500,000 homes and less than 1 mile away, subsidized housing.  I think of this issue everyday as I wait to pick up my children from school–knowing I have a healthy dinner planned for that evening.  While I don’t always agree with our school district’s menu selection, I remember the words of our school counselor who once told me, "San at least they are getting something in their little tummies" .  It was at that moment  I realized that while I am challenging the sodium content of some menu items some of my children’s classmates are just happy for food–period.  Thank you Tyson Foods for continually standing up to national hunger–especially for the children.

  3. Sandi

    I live in the Quad Cities–Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois.  My children go to Bettendorf schools and my younget two attend an elementary school with a very diverse student body–$500,000 homes and less than 1 mile away, subsidized housing.  I think of this issue everyday as I wait to pick up my children from school–knowing I have a healthy dinner planned for that evening.  While I don’t always agree with our school district’s menu selection, I remember the words of our school counselor who once told me, "San at least they are getting something in their little tummies" .  It was at that moment  I realized that while I am challenging the sodium content of some menu items some of my children’s classmates are just happy for food–period.  Thank you Tyson Foods for continually standing up to national hunger–especially for the children.

  4. Judy

     

    We have an ongoing issue with this.  Just today we were able to send food to 500 kids for the weekend.  We beleive in Lee County alone there are about 4000 children that go hungry on the weekend and we are working to fix this…

Comments are closed.