“You can’t teach a hungry child!”
How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier
Jamie* seems like a typical eight grade student, but carries around an unseen barrier. It starts in her Monday morning algebra class, when her stomach tightens with pangs to remind her she hasn’t eaten since the previous Friday. Fighting a slow burning sensation, she tries to focus on linear equations before heading to biology, where her stomach pangs become nauseating cramps.
Jamie’s barrier to education—hunger—is something millions of kids struggle with, and what educators battle daily. If a child is hungry, focusing on anything becomes an uphill battle both for the child and teacher. How can a child engage in classroom discussion, focus on homework or recall information without nutritional support?
The Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation, a non-profit organization established to support the needs of the Clarksville Montgomery County School system, is a firm believer in the saying “You can’t teach a hungry child!”
The organization plans to support their district’s 100% Graduation Program with the donation of snacks received through the Champions for Kids and the Walmart partnership. Many districts, including theirs, has a backpack program that helps send home snacks with students who may not have food over the weekend.
In addition to providing snacks for elementary and middle schools, the program also provides meals for high school students attending the organization’s Virtual High School program. Unlike a traditional school, the Virtual High School has no cafeteria.
“Some life circumstance out of their control may have brought them to the Virtual high,” says Candy Johnson, who works with the Clarksville Montgomery County schools. “But as a community we can still ensure that while they are in our care, they can have a snack to help them fully focus and achieve 100% Graduation in our district!”