children who rely on free or reduced-price lunch during the school year, only
around 3 million receive a free meal
in summer (Food Research and Action
Center, 2012). Nearly 85 percent of
the kids in the United States who may
need nutritional assistance don’t receive
it for a fourth of the year. The problem
is twofold. First, there’s a shortage of
sites—or ways of getting children to
existing sites. Second, many parents,
teachers and other community leaders
don’t realize the program exists.
How Teachers Can Help
Educators can play a role in making
sure kids get access to healthy food in
many ways. First, take the pledge to
end childhood hunger in your community at www.nokidhungry.org. Principals and teachers are also in a prime
position to help more children get
both free breakfast in school and free
Districts and schools that want to
create an innovative breakfast campaign in their schools can learn how
by using the tool kit available at http://
kit discusses best practices for implementing breakfast in the classroom and
offers tips for instructional activities that
teachers can orchestrate while kids are
eating their meal. There are also tools
for engaging fellow teachers, school
districts, custodial staff, food service
employees, parents, and students in the
process so that moving breakfast into
the classroom is seamless and positive
across the board.
Educators should encourage
enrollment in local summer meals programs and ensure that parents know
about these programs by distributing
information at end-of-year events or
by sending a fact sheet and list of local
sites home with students. No Kid
Hungry’s best practices website (http://
resources; case studies of communities
who’ve created summer meal offerings,
including a step-by-step process; and
materials to educate both parents
and the local media on summer meal
Classroom teachers can be invaluable
voices in the local community advocating for nutrition education and
programs. Writing a letter to the editor
of the local paper or a state legislator
in support of hunger-relief policies can
have a huge effect on ensuring that
policymakers support programs to help
Making sure kids get enough healthy
food isn’t a handout: It’s an investment
in our future. Ensuring that children
have the food they need to live, learn,
and play is crucial if we want to build a
healthy workforce. It will take the skills
and determination of everyone with
strength to share—including educators—to win this battle. EL
Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Andrews,
M., & Carlson, S. (2012). Household food
security in the United States in 2011 (ERR-
141). Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Agriculture. Retrieved from www.ers
Deloitte & No Kid Hungry Center for Best
CHRIS TIAN SCIENCE MONITOR/GETTY IMAGES
Practices. (2013). Ending childhood hunger:
A social impact analysis. Washington, DC:
DeNavas-Walt, C., Proctor, B. D., & Smith,
J. C. (2012). Income poverty and health
insurance coverage in the United States:
2011 (U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-243). Washington,
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Food Research and Action Center. (2012).
Hunger doesn’t take a vacation: Summer
nutrition status report 2012. Washington,
DC: Author. Retrieved from http://frac
Food Research and Action Center. (2013).
School breakfast scorecard: School year
2011–2012. Washington, DC: Author.
National Summer Learning Association.
(n.d.). Research in brief: Summertime and
weight gain. Baltimore: Author.
Share Our Strength. (2012). Hunger in the
classroom: Share Our Strength’s teacher
report 2012. Washington, DC: Author.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2012).
Building a healthy America: A profile of the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from
Christy Felling ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
is director of PR at Share Our Strength’s
No Kid Hungry Campaign.