According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 13.1 million children under the age of 18 live in households with inconsistent access to nutritious food. Child hunger is a national problem, and the kids within our community are also at risk. Food insecure children often go to school without proper meals, which can affect learning and productivity in the classroom. Did you know that malnutrition during the early years of childhood development can lead to physical or mental health issues in adulthood? Let’s build a brighter future for Hays County by ensuring that everyone has sufficient access to healthy food. Here are some easy ways to fight hunger!
Celebrate Breakfast in Your Own Home!
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) created National School Breakfast Week (NSBW), a weeklong celebration to increase breakfast participation. This year’s theme was “Take the School Breakfast Challenge”. It encouraged students, teachers, and parents/guardians to take an active role in creating and eating the most important meal of the day.
Do you have kids? Let them help select healthy foods to be included in the morning meal. Live alone? Channel your inner ten-year-old by planning meals that ten-year-old you would want for breakfast. Don’t forget to post to social media to raise awareness! For example, enjoy an egg muffin, made with eggs, your favorite vegetables, and a lean protein. These are also great for freezing if you find that mornings can be a little hectic.
This year’s NSBW was last week (March 6th-10th), but the SNA encourages breakfast all year long. You can celebrate breakfast anytime, even at dinner!
We got your BACKpack
Another great way to fight hunger locally is to get involved in Hays County Food Bank’s growing Backpack Program! 46% of Hays CISD students qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program. This means that kids who eat breakfast and lunch at school may be missing out on meals when they go home at night. Families may rely on food bank services to guarantee that all members receive three meals a day.
In January of this year, we began providing kid-accessible food items to students. We are currently working with two elementary and three middle schools in Hays CISD and a variety of school-aged children in Wimberley ISD via the Fig Tree Outreach Program. The more funding and food we receive, the more schools we will be able to help. Food items to donate include:
- fresh apples
- granola bars
- peanut butter crackers
- canned ravioli*
- Kraft® Easy Mac Individual Cups
- tuna (pouches preferred)
- refried beans*
- peanut butter
*Pop-top canned food items are preferred as they are easily opened by a child
Let’s replace child hunger with healthy choices for children! We believe that everyone deserves consistent access to nutritious food. Do you? Help us redistribute fresh foods so that all may have some!