06 Apr Hunger and Education | Why Hungry Kids Can’t Succeed
One of the greatest keys to breaking the cycle of poverty in a family is education. Education leads to greater career opportunities and access to more resources. America is a country where “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is considered to be an admirable trait. In this day and age, a good education is necessary for the American Dream to be possible.
But how can kids learn if they can’t eat?
Approximately 13 million kids in the United States are in danger of experiencing hunger, and the long-term effects of childhood hunger reach well beyond childhood. Improper nutrition destroys a child’s physical and cognitive development, and can create external problems that threaten their chances of excelling in school. Here are just a few ways that hunger inhibits educational success.
Kids who are hungry are more likely to be sick
Poor nutrition leads to more illness, which leads to more missed school. Numerous absences make it hard to catch up, and can even lead to disciplinary action from the school. And the damage done to their bodies can make them more susceptible to illness for the rest of their lives.
Kids who are hungry are starving their brains
Proper nutrition is necessary for a child’s brain to develop. This development can be greatly hindered when regular meals are not available. Children’s brains develop quickly, and they need food to maintain this rate of growth.
Kids who are hungry are distracted
When I’m hungry, I can’t think of much else. Hungry kids fight this battle daily. Kids who are hungry are often distracted and irritable, which can lead to poor retention or behavior problems. If the first though in your mind is wondering when you’ll eat next, you probably won’t be too focused on memorizing times tables.
Kids who are hungry make poor food choices
When we’re hungry, unhealthy food seems more appealing, which can lead to bad dietary choices. Many times kids who are hungry will choose foods that are high in sugar and sodium, but low in nutritional value.
Kids who are hungry struggle with body image
Kids struggling with hunger lose weight rapidly, causing them to become self-conscious. In reverse, some kids who struggle with hunger may actually be overweight due to the poor food choices mentioned above. Add this to the other insecurities poverty brings, and you have kids that are struggling with shame and self-acceptance.
So, what can we do about it?
Here at Monkey Do Project, childhood hunger is one of our biggest targets. I would never want my children to miss a meal, and I don’t want to see any other children go without either. That’s why we’re partnering with food banks in the Appalachian region to send food home with kids who may only get regular meals while they are in school. By helping children in the poorest area of the country have regular meals, we’re hoping we can help them meet their greater goals and become future world-changers.
A donation of $25 means that five kids get food to eat over the weekend — a critical time because they’re missing out on school breakfast and lunch. Would you consider partnering with us? These kids should be worrying about spelling tests; not whether they’re going to get supper.
Let’s work together to make a difference for these kids.