February 23, 2011
WASHINGTONResults of a national survey of 638 kindergarten through eighth grade public school teachers in urban, suburban and rural communities revealed 60 percent of teachers have children in their classrooms who are not getting enough to eat at home, which impacts their ability to learn.
According to the Hunger in Our Schools: Share Our Strength's Teachers Report," 98 percent of teachers surveyed believe there is a strong connection between eating a healthy breakfast and a student's ability to concentrate, behave and perform academically. The teachers also note the problem increased in the past year.
The study revealed 65 percent of teachers reported that most or many of their students rely on school meals as their primary source of nutrition, and 40 percent of teachers believe it is a serious problem that children are coming to school hungry because they have not had enough to eat at home. Sixty-one percent of teachers said they have purchased food for their classrooms out of their own pockets, spending an average of $25 a month; 74 percent have helped kids sign up for free or reduced-priced meals; and 49 percent have referred students and parents to resources in the school.
"No child should be hungry at school. We have national programs in place, like school breakfast, that are there to serve children in need. We need to let more families know their children are eligible for these meal programs and help them overcome the barriers that prevent full enrollment," said Bill Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, a Washington-based nonprofit working to end childhood hunger in the United States.
Share Our Strength has developed its "No Kid Hungry" campaign to combat childhood hunger, and hopes stronger breakfast programs in schools will improve student performance.
Click here to read the entire report.
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