Yours HumanlyJune 24, 2020
Keeping Kids Fed During Covid-19
The Coronavirus has had a devastating global impact. This unprecedented situation can be especially scary for children; they’ve had to deal with the threat of contracting the virus, school closures, and stay-at-home orders. During these times, we must do all we can to ensure that students feel as normal as possible. But, for children who have relied on schools to provide meals, the extra stress of hunger can make it notably more difficult to adjust.
The importance of school-provided meals has been discussed in a previous blog post. However, the situation caused by COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue. No Kid Hungry notes that, before the pandemic struck, the USDA reported the number of U.S. children living in “food insecure” homes to be 11 million. But, since COVID-19 has drastically increased the number of unemployed workers, it is no surprise that more families are struggling to provide meals for their children. Because of this, the number of children that could be battling hunger has risen to 18 million.
Unfortunately, the bad news does not end there. Normally, while school is in session, many of the students facing food insecurity could rely on their school’s free and reduced-cost meal programs as a consistent source of nourishment. However, recent safety concerns have caused many schools to stop these programs. According to an article published by USA Today, school district leaders across multiple states have “suspended food distribution programs after workers either tested positive or were exposed to coronavirus” and many others “have cut back their distribution dates, times or locations.” School officials have been placed in an extremely difficult situation; as the article states, “they must choose between potentially allowing children to go hungry or risking exposing them to infection.” This has become our heartbreaking reality.
Now that we’ve entered the summer period, even more children could go hungry. Although there are programs that work to help bring meals to children who need them during the summer, an article published by Business Insider reveals that only about 16% of children who need these summer meals are receiving them. The piece goes on to explain that “30% of children who are eligible for free summer meals live in communities that aren’t eligible to host meal sites.” This is because “the program stipulates that summer-meal sites can only be established in areas where at least 50% of children are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches.” Children from a wide range of areas may need these meals, especially during these trying times.
Despite these issues, people and schools all over the country are stepping up to help. According to an NPR article, many schools are implementing a “grab-and-go” model of handing out summer lunches to limit contact as much as possible. Still, some children are not able to reach these sites because, as the paper explains, there are “children staying with grandparents who are isolating themselves, or those with parents who work low-wage, hourly jobs with no time off and no option to work from home or drive to school to pick up meals.” But these kids need meals, too. The article goes on to discuss how workers across different school districts are bringing meals directly to the children’s homes via school buses. Although these times are challenging for everyone, it is heartwarming to know that heroes like this are out there.
At Yours Humanly, we are aware that underprivileged children are currently faced with even greater suffering and we want to do everything in our power to make this time easier for them. If you would like to be a hero for these children, please donate to our COVID-19 Aid Initiative. These funds will go towards helping students, teachers, schools, and school districts in any way we can as they move through recovery in this new environment.