They call it food insecurity. The state of being without reliable access to quality food. And when I heard the phrase I cried. It was linked with my kids’ school. 30 percent of the kids who go to school with my kids are dealing with food insecurity.
This is why I get so angry when people talk about test scores, and teachers, like the teacher can make up all the difference. My kids school is making huge test score leaps, but how do you teach hungry kids? This is what I know about my own home: everyone is cranky and no one will listen to anyone when we don’t eat on time. And I don’t mean just the kids. I can’t learn anything if I haven’t eaten enough, and I don’t have a growing body.
This is why I get so frustrated when people want to say that fair means every kid gets the same dollar amount. There are entire schools down the street from us where all the kids show up well fed, everyone can take their turn with the snack rotation, Goldfish crackers are never a burden to these family budgets.
Because my kids’ school is below the poverty line everyone gets free breakfast, and free lunch. But lunch is pretty early and the pre-k kids just can’t make it that long. The harsh reality is that some 4 and 5 year olds have learned to make the choice to slip their snack in their book bag in case dinner isn’t enough that night.
I don’t even really know how to write about it. I’ve been hitting the backspace a lot more than usual. I don’t live in this reality and seeing the words in black and white just makes me so sad. In other countries maybe, but how does this happen in my city, literally in my own neighborhood? How do I wrap my brain around the reality that some of my kids friends are going hungry while mine reject the snack I give them because I bought the wrong brand? It just feels very overwhelming.
When I talk to people about the disparities in education, I can see the same overwhelmed feeling cloud their faces. How can this be? How can we live in America and not have everyone have a quality education? How can children who are my neighbors not have what they need? The reality of solving for problems in education is that mostly what we are talking about is solving for poverty.
I don’t know how to solve for poverty either. And while I have a lot of thoughts about ways to solve for education I know that it boils down to showing up, finding out what the school needs, and getting it to them. So. That is what I am doing. My kids’ school needs snack.
Christian and I checked our grocery budget, and while we have the resources to provide snack about once a month, we also don’t have the means to cover snack everyday. Often my very generous readers ask me how to help when I talk about education. Here is one way to help. I started an amazon wish list with appropriate snacks for the class. All you have to do is click click click and these items will be delivered to our house. We will be sure to pass them on.
I am hoping to get all year covered. We were able to do that 2 years ago! I know that the fruit packets are a little bit more expensive, but I also know kids in poverty don’t get enough fruits and vegetables. If you have the means, those would be great.
(If we get more than we need I am going to share with the other pre-k teacher who I am sure is in the same boat. Juliet’s teacher also needs snack, and it was the most requested item from her kindergarten teacher. I promise I can find a place for any snack we get. Your donation will not be wasted.)