The latest NC Budget and Tax Center Prosperity Watch report is out and the subject is extremely timely: childhood hunger and some promising North Carolina public school initiatives to attack it. Let’s hope the programs highlighted in the report are nurtured and allowed to grow. As has been reported on these page in previous years, local conservative think tanks with regular access to the ears of legislative leaders have long railed against supposed “waste” in school lunch programs and the idea — gasp! — that some hungry kids may get fed on occasion even when their families incomes aren’t always below the miserly official levels for eligibility.
Happily, as the report appears to indicate, public officials appear finally to be waking up to the reality that feeding hungry school children — whatever their family income levels — is never a bad thing.
N.C. schools adopt innovative breakfast programs to fight student hunger
It’s back to school time, which means that more than 1.5 million school-age children across North Carolina will enter public school classrooms each school day. While much of the discussion regarding North Carolina’s public schools often highlights what is missing and the various barriers to every student receiving a high-quality education, there are positive and promising things about our public schools that warrant attention.
Schools serve as community assets that not only teach students to read, write, and do math, but they also help address other barriers – such as access to health services and food insecurity – that impede the development of healthy, vibrant, and smart students.
The importance of the role that schools play in addressing child hunger is clear. One out of every 6 North Carolina households, and 1 in 5 North Carolina children, face food insecurity, meaning these families do not have access to adequate food needed to ensure that children are healthy, academically successful, and have sufficient early childhood development. For our public schools, this translates into more than half of North Carolina students returning to school this year being eligible for subsidized school meals.
To ensure that more students start their school day with food in their stomach, more than 700 schools across the state have adopted innovative breakfast delivery programs. Initiatives such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab ‘N Go, and Second Chance Breakfast aim to bridge “access” and “participation” in regards to students eating school breakfast. Read more