Nearly seventeen million children in America go to bed each night facing hunger and food insecurity, not knowing if the new day will bring hope or hopelessness. We can fix this. This country has the food; we have the existing federal programs such as school breakfast, school lunch, after-school snacks, after-school dinners, summer meals, and nutrition education that, if utilized to their maximum potential, can put an end to childhood hunger.
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Another clear example of the benefits of promoting school breakfast: This report is courtesy of the Manteca Bulletin, in California. The full article can be found here.
When Shasta Elementary School in California began serving breakfast in the classroom, first grade teacher Sherry Hatfield thought it would be an added burden to hand out breakfast items to students as she was taking attendance, getting the lunch count, and collecting homework. She found that the program was a “blessing in disguise.” The string cheese, apples, graham crackers and milk, (one morning’s menu), kept the students quiet for 15 minutes, and she was able to take care of morning housekeeping, like taking attendance, with few distractions. “It doesn’t take away from my day,” she said. Shasta School offers universal breakfast – free for all students regardless of household income, and this is the first year for breakfast in the classroom. “So many studies show that students are more receptive to instruction with a good breakfast,” said Principal Audrey Greene. She also said that Nutrition Services provides the classrooms with cleaning supplies – and the students get involved by handling cleanup themselves. The Manteca Unified School District has been offering breakfast in the classroom for three years, and the program is helping breakfast participation to skyrocket.
Disturbing in so many ways. Childhood hunger worldwide on “World Food Day” infographic – thanks to save1.com
Great information from our friends at FRAC, the Food Research and Action Center: USDA researchers, using Current Population Survey data to examine SNAP’s effect on poverty from 2000 to 2009, found that the prevalence of poverty declined an average of 4.4 percent due to SNAP/Food Stamp benefits, with the average decline in the depth and severity of poverty at 10.3 and 13.2 percent, respectively. SNAP/Food Stamps reduced the depth of child poverty by an average of 15.5 percent, and child poverty severity by an average of 21.3 percent.
When SNAP/Food Stamp benefits were increased through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, (overview & link to final text of the bill) the SNAP/Food Stamp anti-poverty effect peaked. SNAP/Food Stamps served 44.7 million Americans in an average month in 2011. “Our analysis shows that SNAP significantly improves the welfare of low-income households,” note the researchers. Follow this link to the report, titled “Alleviating Poverty in the United States: The Critical Role of SNAP Benefits.”
Posted in Hunger, Legislation, Research
Tagged Administrative, Children, Congress, Food, FRAC, Hunger, Legislative, Poverty, Research, SNAP
Citing recent findings by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Philanthropy News Digest reports that nearly eight million children in America live in areas of high poverty — about 1.6 million more since 2000.
Based in part on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), the latest Kids Count Data Snapshot found that 11% of the nation’s children are growing up in areas where at least 30% of residents live below the federal poverty level — about $22,000 per year for a family of four. For more details, a link to the Annie E. Casey Foundation Press Release is here.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Too often it is after the fact that teachers discover their students are worrying less about math and and reading and more about where the next meal comes from.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2010, provides federal funds for the after-school dinner program in areas where at least half the students qualify for free or reduced price lunches.
Check out the full story on the impact of after-school “dinner” in the Huffington Post story here.