By: ZYLA WHITE, LSN KIDS Board Chair| Crime & Corrections Advocate| B.S. Psychology
C hildhood hunger is a devastating issue that affects millions of children every day. According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 children may not know when they will eat again (Feeding America, 2020). The devastation caused by COVID-19 contributes to this tragedy that children face every day. Childhood hunger affects all aspects of a child’s life from their growth and development, to their ability to successfully progress in academic environments. Many of these children may have behavior and social issues due to their lack of food (Gunn, 2021). They may be unable to focus on their school work, pay attention in class, complete assignments, and socially advance in school because they are too hungry to concentrate. Therefore, their ability to fully engage in learning and social activities may be negatively impacted. Many children who go hungry will be more likely to have health issues (such as headaches and colds) and toxic stress which can cause depression and other mental concerns (APA, 2021).
Childhood hunger is a serious issue that must never be overlooked by education leaders and educators. A child’s acting out, poor school performance or lack of social interaction may be caused by a bigger issue, that they cannot control – HUNGER.
We can all help end childhood hunger by contributing in ways such as: assisting local schools and community churches with distributing meals for children, volunteering at local food banks and donating to charities. During the summer months many children rely on schools, community organizations, and charities for free lunch provided to families in need. These meals may be the only meals they have the entire day. Share a meal today.
American Psychological Association. (2021). Public Interest Government Relations Office (PI-GRO): What are the psychological effects of hunger on children? APA. https://www.apa.org/advocacy/socioeconomic-status/hunger.pdf
Feeding America. (2021). Child hunger facts in America. https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/child-hunger-facts
Gunn, J. (2021). Hunger pains: teaching hungry students. Resilient Educator. https://resilienteducator.com/classroom-resources/hunger-pains-teaching-hungry-students/