Many kids are giddy to be out of school for holiday breaks. Besides no homework, there are gifts and food! But that may not be the case for the 30 million children in the U.S. who participate in the National School Lunch Program.
Not going to school and taking a holiday break means some children won’t get enough food.
“We didn’t have that much for Christmas,” said 15-year-old Jaida.
One in eight children in the U.S. don’t know where their next meal will come from. It’s a year-round problem sometimes eased by free or reduced-cost school meals.
But students are usually out for a week around Thanksgiving and two weeks around Christmas and the New Year. That’s when parents feel the financial pinch more because they need to provide extra food for their children. That’s not even considering all the added expenses of the holidays like Thanksgiving dinner. Holiday meals are completely out of reach for those who are struggling.
No parent wants to fail their kids. Sadly, the holidays have a way of making some feel like they aren’t doing enough – not enough food, not enough gifts, and not enough joy.
“When my refrigerator is empty, I feel less of a person,” said Kim, mom of two. “It takes my confidence down just a little bit when it comes to being a mother because I feel like there’s a job that needed to be fulfilled that I could not fulfill.”
Children are also impacted by not having enough food during a season that is supposed to be filled with cheer and joy. Students have to face their peers once they're back in school and hear all the stories of gifts and good times. Plus, without proper nutrition, hungry children will easily slip behind their classmates academically.
It’s the opposite of what kids need to live up to their potential. And parents – like the rest of us – want the best for their future.
“Hopes and dreams for my children? It's to thrive better,” said Adeline, a mom in Georgia. “To be amazing, to be successful, to follow their dreams.”
That’s why it’s crucial to reach as many hungry children as possible during the holidays to ensure that children have a bright future.
Feed the Children is working towards a No Hunger Holiday, and we need your help. Your gift can deliver much-needed food and more to kids and their families. You can be a bright spot during a very tough time. Consider blessing a child with a No Hunger Holiday this season.