Young leaders need opportunities to effect change in their communities through advocacy and action. Below is a list of activities and resources for students to help them take action on food insecurity in their communities. While not a comprehensive list, student leaders can use this as a starting point in their advocacy goals to help make No Kid Hungry a reality!
For even more ideas and resources, visit the No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices.
GENERAL HUNGER FACTS
Sharing information about the food insecurity crisis is often the first step toward inspiring action in your school and local community.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 11 million children in the United States lives in food-insecure homes. And that number dates from before the coronavirus pandemic. Today, projections show that 18 million children could face hunger this year. Reaching more students who are at risk of hunger improves their chances of leading healthy lives, achieving higher academic performance, and avoiding food insecurity in adulthood.
Hunger In Our Schools
- 59% of children from low-income families say they have come to school hungry.
- 46% of children from low-income families say hunger hurts their performance in school.
- 12% say that sometimes at night they’re too distracted by hunger to do their homework.
- 64% of low-income parents say it would be difficult to feed their children if they encountered an unexpected expense.
- Share the above statistics and the Childhood Hunger Facts graphics in a social media campaign to spread awareness of this critical issue.
Kids do better when they start the day right. Research shows that the simple act of eating school breakfast can dramatically change a child’s life. Making school breakfast a seamless part of the school day by serving it after the bell can also have a huge impact on classrooms.
- Meet with your teachers, principal, and/or superintendent about implementing a Breakfast After the Bell model in your school.
- Use these Talking Points to help convince the stakeholders in your school to create a Breakfast After the Bell program.
For many kids, summertime means food, friends, and fun. For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, however, the summer months can be stressful and family food budgets have to be stretched even further. Free summer meals, funded by the USDA, are available to kids and teens ages 18 and under at thousands of summer meals sites across the country.
- Ask about operating a summer meals program at your school!
- If your school already operates such a program, advocate for creating or purchasing more games and enrichment activities for kids and teens.
With 1 in 6 families struggling with hunger, many feel financially stretched providing nutritious food for their kids to eat after school. The CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program and NSLP Afterschool Snack Programs allow educational and enrichment programs to provide kids with the nutrition they need to keep learning, growing, and playing after the final bell rings.
- Contact your local school officials (school nutrition director, superintendent, or school board members) about starting or expanding after-school meals and snacks at school.
- This guide will help you to understand the best times during the year to approach school nutrition staff specifically.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal nutrition program in the United States and reaches the most children at risk of hunger. The program is run by the USDA and provides families with an electronic card they can use to buy food at grocery stores.
- Contact your members of Congress and tell them strengthening SNAP is the most effective way to help struggling families during this crisis.