Food bags like these are sent home with elementary school students in the Washington County School District every Friday.
Some 16 percent of kids in Utah face food insecurity, according to a nonprofit organization called No Child Hungry
Let’s take a moment to unpack what the term food insecurity means. Another nonprofit, Utahns against Hunger, gleaned some troubling statistics in 2017.
The heads of households for that vulnerable 16 percent of schoolchildren agreed with the following statement: “The food that I bought just didn’t last, and I didn’t have money to get more, often or sometimes.”
At any time, job loss, illness or other events can add another household to that number. It’s also likely that the percentage of food insecure households is higher now than it was in 2017, given the country has since experienced a pandemic and record inflation.
Enter the Washington County School District. Virtually all the elementary schools in St. George and the surrounding environs offer a take-home bag of food for all takers at the end of the school week.
In some cases, the bags include food that can be prepared for the whole family–things like tuna fish and pasta dish kits. At other schools, the food sent home is aimed more at getting students through the weekend with plenty of calories.
It’s not exactly gourmet fare, but having access to oatmeal, Cup O’Noodle, chocolate milk, juice and snacks like granola bars and Goldfish crackers can make all the difference.
Hungry kids can’t thrive and they certainly can’t learn. It’s good to know the community is committed to keeping hunger at bay.