By Rachel Albaugh, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
Did you know that children living in food-insecure households are 50 percent more likely to miss days of school, twice as likely to be suspended and 50 percent more likely to have to repeat a grade? This is happening right here in OUR community. Children in 82,000 Valley households don’t know where their next meal is coming from.To put that number in context: If one refrigerator from each of these households were lined up, they would reach rim-to-rim and back again at the Grand Canyon!
If you are like most Valley residents, then these statistics should shock you — and hopefully inspire you to help. Thankfully, things can change. You can be the ONE to help end hunger by providing Breakfast in the Classroom.
Food is already supplied to schools for free through other programs, but children have to go to the lunch room to get it. Unfortunately, too few children take advantage of this program. They may be embarrassed to get a free meal, not have enough time to eat before class starts or want to avoid feeling singled out. Breakfast in the Classroom is a lasting solution to this problem. The money that is raised for Breakfast in the Classroom goes towards the logistics of providing free meals during class. Every student receives a nutritious breakfast, and the entire class eats together. With full bellies and proper nutrition, students are able pay attention longer, do better in school, and there are less visits to the nurses office.
How can you get involved? For the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 fiscal years, the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) has committed our support to fundraising for Breakfast in the Classroom through sponsorship and relationship cultivation, becoming community ambassadors for the Breakfast in the Classroom program and hosting the annual We are United Luncheon. You can help end hunger by donating directly to the Breakfast in the Classroom program at vsuw.org/breakfast or attending the annual We are United Luncheon. Last year, Leigh Anne Tuohy, the inspirational mother of “The Blind Slide” gave an outstanding presentation at the luncheon, which inspired us to raise$100,000. Those funds brought Breakfast in the Classroom to 25 local schools.
I would like to leave you with this thought: Think about the last time you were really hungry while at work or home or school. Not just craving food, but hungry to the point of distraction or grouchiness; “hangry,” as we say today. You’re grumpy until a friend/coworker/family member tells you to eat something so you are in a better mood. You grab a snack, and all is well again! What if you couldn’t go get something to eat? Imagine you haven’t eaten in a long time and you don’t access to ANY food. Not even an apple! What would happen now? Your performance might lower, you’d feel terrible and you’d stay in a perpetual state of hangry. So I ask you to please consider ways you can help bring Breakfast in the Classroom to more schools and help local students in need.