While food insecurity is harmful to everyone, it is particularly devastating to children. Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. Not having enough of the right kinds of food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity.
Hunger doesn’t just hurt a child’s ability to learn and participate in school. It has a real impact on a child’s health and well-being. Children who are hungry are more likely to suffer from poor health, be hospitalized and require long inpatient stays, suffer from ADHD and are more likely to commit suicide as a teen.
Consider what it means for our region when nearly 3 out of every 4 students enrolled in Pittsburgh Public Schools are facing hunger as an obstacle to reaching their fullest potential. In southwestern Pennsylvania, 1 in 5 children faces food insecurity and does not know where their next meal will come from. Across Pennsylvania, more than 437,000 children find themselves in this situation. When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens the future of our region as well.
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank promotes and provides access to several federal nutrition programs that address the food and nutrition needs of children who are facing hunger in southwestern Pennsylvania:
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank also partners with member agencies to address food insecurity by providing nutritious weekend meals to students through the Backpack Program. Each backpack typically consists of six meals for over the weekend – two for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a snack. The foods are chosen so they can be easily prepared by students without the use of a stove, microwave or can opener.
We work with organizations like No Kid Hungry to further our mission to end child hunger. Creating a link between all child nutrition programs can create healthier and stronger communities.