Why We Do What We Do
In Brevard County, the number of children in the free and reduced-price meal program exceeds 50%. Some elementary schools have 80% or more of their kids on the free and reduced-price meal program with many of them at risk of childhood hunger and malnutrition.
When we talk about the risk of childhood hunger we base it on the fact the lunch program available in public schools around the country has been recognized by our government and various charities as the key indicator of hunger risk and poverty in a geographic area.
Childhood hunger leads to a weaker immune system, difficulty in learning and paying attention in class, and behaving properly to retain what they learn. Hungry kids are sick more often and have lower academic achievement.
Brevard County Schools, to their great credit, provide a free breakfast plus a healthy lunch through
the program during the week. For some students, though, lunch on Friday is the last regular meal they will receive until the following Monday. The Children’s Hunger Project, Inc. provides weekend meals and fights childhood hunger and malnutrition during the school year. Teachers and school administrators, those on the front line of caring for our children while they are away from their parents during the week, know firsthand of the weekend hunger problem. The teachers know as they wave goodbye on Fridays which students will not have proper nutrition over the weekend. They know which students will arrive Monday morning ill-prepared to learn properly.
We look with horror at pictures coming from other countries where children are hungry. We generously give to charities feeding children in those countries. It is time we address childhood hunger in our own back yard.
No child in our great country should go two days without proper food and nutrition.
The time is right to address the local problem of childhood hunger and malnutrition
By addressing this problem, The Children’s Hunger Project, Inc. is responsible for positive results in children including:
- Improved attendance
- Better test scores
- Improved reading skills
- Positive behavior
- Improved health
Kids are also hungry on the weekends. Food is the foundation for school success.
Effects on Academic Performance
- Under-nutrition along with environmental factors associated with poverty can permanently retard physical growth, brain development, and cognitive functioning.
- The longer a child’s nutritional, emotional, and education needs go unmet the greater the likelihood of cognitive impairments.
- Poor children who attend school hungry perform significantly below non-hungry low-income peers on standardized test scores.
- There exists a strong association between family income and the growth and cognitive development of children.
- Improved nutrition and environmental conditions can modify the effects of early under-nutrition.
- Supplemental feeding programs can help to offset threats posed to the child’s capacity to learn and perform in school which result from inadequate nutrient intake.
- Once under-nutrition occurs, its long-term effects may be reduced or eliminated by a combination of adequate food intake and environmental (home, school) support.