As a soon-to-be Elementary School Mom, I became aware of the overwhelming process of registering my child for kindergarten and what to expect for the upcoming year. It came to my attention during one of the online meetings with the administration that this year all the students had breakfast and lunch provided at no charge to them by the Federal Government. All the school administrators including principals said that this was “wonderful for all students,” but they did not know what the next school year would hold.
I am happy to say that my school district/board decided that this was a program worth providing to the students. I am excited that my child will have a chance to try new foods with friends that are nutritionally balanced. My child is a picky eater but does observe and try different foods with friends because of friends they have added broccoli, chicken, carrots to happy to eat list. My mind is also at ease that I only need to budget and meal plan for dinner and weekend meals. With grocery store prices up 7%, providing breakfast and lunch provides a chance for families living on the edge with a chance to pay bills and have food in the house.
Food insecurity is at an all-time high in our communities. This has a real effect on children. If you are a parent or have watched children, you might have seen them “hangry” (hungry + angry). When a child is hungry/food insecure; they cannot focus, pay attention, or even sit still in the classroom. Author Rutger Bregman describes food insecurity in people as a brand-new computer with hundreds of programs open and having hundreds of browser tabs all running at the same time, and all you want is to draft an essay. This computer is going to run slow, not respond, and eventually crash. Providing school meals means that we can help children close some "running programs” and focus on the ones the programs they need to be successful at school.
I feel for the moms, dads, guardians in neighboring communities, and states that do not have those options. I believe that if you spoke to your friends and family with school-age students, they are relieved during this school year not to have to think about packing nutritionally balanced meals or begging their child to please have something quick for breakfast because we have to be at school in 10 minutes.
Gandhi said, “the greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its weakest member.” We have a real chance in our states and even federally to help protect all our students and provide them with the fuel they need to lead our future-forward.
If you would like to be included in advocating for school meals for all, please sign this petition.