Lucy Nolan, executive director of End Hunger CT!
It’s the holidays! Yay! Dinner with the family, turkey, stuffing, ham, raviolis galore. Right?
Not if you’re one of seven Connecticut residents, or the one in five Connecticut children who live in food insecure households, or face hunger.
School’s out for Thanksgiving, and longer for Christmas through New Year’s or even Three King’s Day. Not so good for those kids who rely on breakfast, lunch and maybe even a supper at school as their only sustenance, nutritional and other. For example, a teacher once told me that she loved breakfast in the classroom because she could tell when kids were having a tough day and she was able to help them through it before the teaching began, before the unresolved issues came up some other way, like acting out and disrupting the whole class.
For children who aren’t in school, being food insecure means that they will have greater difficulty acquiring the social or academic skills to transition to pre-k or kindergarten.
We know kids who eat breakfast at school do better on tests and attend school for longer periods. They are more likely to graduate high school. They get a lift. Parents whose children eat at school have one less thing to stress about. There are close to 400,000 people participating in the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program-known as SNAP, which used to be called Food Stamps - in Connecticut. One in eight of us – look around.
Add not having a place to call home, or a place to cook, or a snow day from school and life just got worse for these kids, their families or those who don’t have a family in their life anymore.
There are some effective programs that get food to people, no matter where they live. These programs are often underutilized and if more schools served breakfast in the classroom as part of the school day, if the 18% of those eligible for SNAP that aren’t getting it did, if more schools offered a Supper Program that can still serve when school is closed and if the three out of four children who get a free lunch at school ate at a summer meal site when school is out, our kids would be better off - happy, healthy and ready to learn and play.
Let’s commit to getting the word out about these programs. Can you use them or know someone who can? Ask that person if she or he would like some information. These nutrition programs are here for all of us in Connecticut who need them. We’ll help you. Call us – 860-560-2100 – or go to our website for information – www.endhungerct.org.
We’re making room at the table and we want you to sit with us!
Click here to read previous blog.