Child Hunger in School Systems

by Paige Miller, Michelle Sahlieh, and Ashley Corbett
Philosophy and Religion, Media Studies
Faculty advisor: Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya and Jamii Claiborne

Child hunger exists in nearly all public school districts. Children benefitting from free and reduced meal plans have guaranteed meals during the school year, but many children go without a hot meal for dinner. Through a civic engagement project involving the Storm Lake school district and the local food pantry, we have investigated the percentage of students suffering from hunger due to missed meals. Hunger pains have been shown in studies to negatively affect children’s mental and physical abilities in school performances. The majority of students affected by severe hunger pains were of a minority ethnicity. Investigating the correlation between race and child hunger demonstrates the social injustice presented to the parents of these children.

By partnering up with the local BVU Breakfast Buddies organization, we are working to establish a program that goes beyond breakfast for students in public schools. Creating a system to help feed children during the evenings, weekends, and school breaks will allow children to perform at their best potential in school academics and athletics. Because the Storm Lake community has a large population of minority citizens, the focus on child hunger will be dealt with on a community scale; however, the ultimate goal is to create community awareness of child hunger that will spread to surrounding communities. Child hunger is a serious issue in many public school districts and creating awareness about this issue is vital to establishing harmony within a community.