I visited a school this past Tuesday after a three-day weekend and observed a male student walking into the manager’s office. I jokingly asked the student to share some of his food with me. To my surprise, the student thought I was serious and he immediately pulled his tray back. With a stern expression, he exclaimed, “I haven’t eaten in three days. You cannot have my food”. I paused for a split second while several thoughts bombarded my mind. I’ll share two.
Thought one, “how is it possible, in today’s society-not to have ANY type of food for three days?”
I personally have seen the pitfalls of poverty, therefore I can relate at a level that is all too familiar. In other words, “I get where this young man is coming from”. However, I know that there are resources available for families like his but how exactly do we ensure they know about it? How do we close the communication gap?
Which leads to my second thought – communication is essential.
How can we effectively get the message out and into the hands of parents and guardians about the plethora of resources available for the families of our most valuable stakeholder? The student.
This experience has reminded me of how vital school meals are (especially breakfast and lunch service) for many families whose children depend on them. I applaud the many school districts who offer after school snacks and supper programs for students. These districts partner with various agencies to provide snacks and/or meals on the weekend. For many, these meals are heaven sent.
We all know there is no “one size fits all” solution but we have to figure out an efficient process for “getting the word out” consistently and effectively for our students’ sake. Let’s commit to ensure that not another child (within our reach) misses a meal on our watch.