No Kid Hungry for Mothers Day - and always

Every Friday, my daughter’s school principal sends a message to the parents underscoring something that happened that week, as well as announcements and reminders for the days and weeks ahead.  This week’s communication had a very important message: 

“Testing week can be grueling and for some students very stressful.  Please support your child by ensuring that he or she is well rested and eats a healthy breakfast.” 

Before the close of the message, she reminds us: “Please make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast at home or have him or her arrive prior to 8:30am to eat breakfast at school.”   And then finally, an e-mail from my daughter’s teacher reminding us that test week is approaching so please make sure your child eats breakfast and brings a healthy snack to eat between test sessions.  

We all know how important it is for our kids to eat breakfast — but did you know that it can literally change their lives?   A pro-bono study was conducted for Share Our Strength by Deloitte, a consulting firm in Washington, DC and their findings included that kids who eat school breakfast score an average of 17.5% higher on math tests and are 20% more likely to graduate high school

But eating a healthy breakfast is important every day, not just on test day.  According to a survey of public school teachers released by the No Kid Hungry campaign, 3 out of 5 teachers say students are coming to school hungry.  And that’s why the No Kid Hungry campaign is working hard to ensure that all kids have access to breakfast and that schools offer alternative breakfast programs such as “grab and go” or Breakfast in the Classroom during the first period.

As a mother of a preadolescent daughter, I have my growing list of concerns ranging from her study habits and preparation for middle school to the early advances of young boys to her changing body.  These are universal concerns shared by every mother I talk to no matter the age, race or nationality.  But one worry I don’t have is making sure my daughter has enough healthy food.  Ensuring my daughter is well fed is always top of mind, not only before school, but before her soccer game, gymnastics class and at slumber parties.  Sadly, this is a constant worry for millions of Americans - one out of every five children in our country struggles with hunger because they don’t have access to the programs that are already in place.

Every Mother’s Day, I give my daughter a card.  I love the opportunity it provides to recount some of the special moments we’ve shared over the past year.  I end them all the same way, with a version of how amazing she is and how proud I am to be her mom.

Each year, she understands more and more about my work with Share Our Strength and the community of children we all care about.  I look forward to the day I can tell my daughter that we have ended childhood hunger in America.

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Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 12:52 PM, 05.09.2013