November 25 - Day One
Hungry children are children who don’t do well in school. They are the ones most likely to have developmental delays, to have to repeat a grade, to have lower test scores, or to miss more school because of illness. They may also suffer from depression and behavioral issues. As we know, hunger is worldwide, but the number of hungry children in the United States is staggering. From an article in the Washington Post written by Jaimie Seaton, one in five children in the United States lives in a food-insecure home. Parents may be able to provide food for a few weeks in a month, but there is not enough for the entire month. School nutrition programs provide free breakfasts and lunches during the week, but what about weekends? Can you imagine going home on Friday afternoon knowing that you will be hungry until Monday morning?
In many places in this country, there is an opportunity to help some of these children. Backpack programs provide meals for children in the home for the weekend. Counselors or nurses at schools identify students who need help. Backpacks are stocked with enough food until Monday morning and left outside classroom doors on Friday afternoons. Students pick up their supply on their way out the door and return the backpacks on Monday morning. This simple act results in a sense of peace for those children, knowing that the struggle for food will be less intense.
What can you do to help? Call your local school district or food bank to see if there is a backpack program in place. If so, join the volunteers who collect food and pack it. If not, start one. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has a message to watch in For Such a Time As This: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Advocacy. He also has suggestions on things you can do.
Beth Agar, Province VI Representative to the NECW Board