Food is the most important school supply.
Every kid needs three meals a day to be healthy. And for some kids, school is the best place to get those meals.
Not every kid starts their day with a good breakfast. 59% of children from low-income families go to school hungry.
Kids who are hungry can not focus and do well in school. 46% of children from low-income families say hunger hurts their performance in school. 12% say that sometimes at night they are too distracted by hunger to do their homework.
More than anyone, teachers understand that kids are hungry. 74% of educators see students who regularly come to school hungry because they are not getting enough to eat at home. 43% of these see hungry students arrive nearly every day.
Hunger contributes to poor school performance, developmental delays, anxiety, behavior problems and even chronic illnesses such as asthma. Obesity is an ironic partner of hunger, often resulting from consuming cheap food with empty calories.
School food programs have proven benefits for academics and health. Children who eat at school have less hunger, better attendance and improved educational outcomes, such as higher levels of literacy and math proficiency. Pew Charitable Trust reported that the availability of healthy food at school improves children’s eating habits and reduces their risks for obesity and type-2 diabetes.