Pencils, erasers, notebooks, markers. Back to school season is upon us, and parents everywhere are checking all the necessary supplies off their children’s list.
But the one basic school supply you won’t find on most lists? Food.
Across our region, one in five children struggles with hunger – leaving them not only with empty bellies, but also at-risk of falling behind their fellow students.
In fact, research shows that kids from hungry families are more likely to score lower on tests; be held back to repeat a grade; have language, motor skill and behavioral issues; and miss more school because of illnesses. All of that translates into a greater likelihood of dropping out of school before graduation, leaving them less likely to find stable jobs paying living wages – and ultimately leaving them as food-insecure adults, continuing the cycle of hunger.
That’s the reality faced by more than 172,000 students right in our communities, who wonder where their next meal is coming from. That’s 172,000 too many.
But the good news is that you can make a difference for them. Here are four simple ways to get involved and help fuel their paths to success.
- If you’re out school supply shopping for your kids, pick up a few canned or other highly-needed, non-perishable grocery items to donate to your local food bank.
- Set a positive example and get your kids involved. Visit our Volunteer Portal to explore family-friendly opportunities to give back at local food pantries and cupboards.
- Raise your voice and advocate for the preservation and protection of SNAP – or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – our nation’s most-effective anti-hunger program.
- Encourage others to get involved. Share your pictures and stories of how you’re making a difference in the lives of students in our communities using #TheMovementStartsWithMe.
As students throughout our region head back to school this fall, join us in making sure they are equipped with all the supplies and resources they need to thrive.