California School Feeds Hungry Kids and Families with Novel Donation Program

Schools are now feeding hungry kids and their families.

Where there are hungry kids, there are most likely hungry parents as well. That’s the realization that the John Still K-8 School came to when it began giving food via a food pantry to the school’s 970 students and their families.

According to NPR, the school serves these families through its Youth and Family Resource Center, where the pantry resides. The pantry gets a lot of its donations from Sacramento churches.

While the pantry serves hungry kids and parents, some of the school’s parents volunteer time at the pantry, too. Overall, the pantry has been a savior for many of the school’s families. One parent, Erica Johnson, details how she typically runs out of food stamps to feed her family by the “20th of each month”:

“‘That’s when it really gets hard,’ Johnson says. ‘When I’m real low on food, it’s like I wake up and I’m like, ‘Okay, what are they going to eat — I have no clue what they’re going to eat.’ And I sit there, and I’m like … ugh.’”

This is not an uncommon scenario for many of the parents’ students who attend John Still. NPR reports that it’s a “chronic” problem, and that more often than not, other bills, such as rent, drain funds.

So, how can this overall problem get solved? One step policymakers can take is to “take note of what’s working within community-based strategies.” And while community-based strategies are great, NPR reports that, rightfully, the burden of lessening “poverty reduction” shouldn’t solely be a school’s issue.

Luckily, more programs are popping up that are helping some schools address their students’ poverty issues. According to NPR, Feeding America, a group of American food banks, serves around 21 million meals to “110,000 children nationwide in 2013” through its School Pantry Program.

Are there any community-based hunger elimination programs in your city? If so, tell us about them in the comments so we can spread the word.

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Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture