Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Day 5: #SchoolBreakfastChallenge

No breakfast today
No breakfast for the third day in a row, and it's Monday! After a weekend away from work, we all struggle to push through the Monday morning grind. So what about kids who haven’t eaten well and who face yet another morning without breakfast? 

Under our current education system, learning is a group experience. It is important to note here that school breakfast helps ALL children...not just those who happen to come from poor families. Many parents send their kids to school well fed and raring to go, but it only takes a few cranky kids to disrupt an entire classroom. If your neighbors’ kids are hungry it affects what and how your kids learn in class.

In one of my earlier jobs I ran the public affairs program for Secretary of State. As part of my job I used to visit schools to talk about roles and responsibilities as citizens, the importance of voting, access to public information...for the most part it was a great experience and (hopefully) the kids gained something from it. I remember one specific morning with a group of 10 year old kids–several were cranky and fidgety, and a couple even asked me if I had food. Not having food to start the day changes everything. You don’t have to take the #SchoolBreakfastChallenge to feel that...try skipping coffee one morning and see how you do!

I sometimes hear, "Parents should feed their own kids breakfast every day at home.” Wouldn’t that be lovely? I’ve also read about America in the 1950sone parent made enough money to support the entire family, while the other  parent stayed home to make sure everyone had breakfast before heading to school and work. Most parents I talk to, regardless of economic level, talk about “chaos in the morning.” I wonder how many times my boys went off to school without breakfast...and it wasn't a lack of desire or resources. So, if the numbers work and all kids can have breakfast in school, why not help the entire classroom?

Heading into the home stretch now...only a couple of days to go, but I know when this is all over I will have breakfast each morning. So, while I can empathize with all those for whom hunger is a way of life, I will never fully understand the uncertainty kids must face during these difficult times. 

James Arena-DeRosa, President & CEO

Join the conversation by commenting below or sharing your thoughts on social media. Don't forget to tag @Foodshare and use the hashtag #SchoolBreakfastChallenge.

You can also follow my fellow CEO at the Connecticut Food Bank, Bernie Beaudreau, as he shares his SNAP Challenge experience this week.

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