Schools Battle Hunger

By Nora Carr

Swept into children’s lives along with a rising tide of poverty that shows no signs of receding, hunger is haunting America’s classrooms. Linked to weakened immune systems, cognitive delays, anemia, slowed or abnormal growth, social-emotional concerns, and other challenges, hunger can devastate a child’s development and future life chances.

“Kids who are hungry often tire easily, and may seem lethargic or inattentive,” says Robin Bergeron, a registered nurse and director of school health services for North Carolina’s Guilford County Schools. “They may not retain information as well, and they may need more emotional support and encouragement.”

With an estimated 14 million children in the U.S. considered to be “food insecure,” hunger demands a response from caring and compassionate school officials, educators, parents, policymakers, and others who refuse to sacrifice a generation to the ravages of the most recent recession. In many districts, new solutions and innovative partnerships are being developed that we can learn from and communicate to our communities.

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