Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hunger and Hope - Bloggers Unite

I teach elementary school in an urban setting where each of my students receives free breakfast and lunch. When lunchtime comes around and I take my kids to the cafeteria, they all of a sudden become more talkative and almost giddy.

In a line they inch up to the kitchen, where they watch as the lunch lady serves a rubbery chicken patty on a yeasty bun, or runny macaroni and cheese. The food is dropped, hurriedly slopped, on to a Styrofoam tray, often with a plastic-gloved hand. Several kids will ask for "two" of whatever is being served. They'll take a milk carton as well, checking the date as I've taught them to do, and a piece of waxy, bruised fruit that is piled up in a plastic bin.

Once they prance over to their tables, my kids unwrap they're straws and drink their milk. Then, they contemplate the food before them. YOU would not serve this food to your children. It's a tray filled with carbs and low-grade food. One day, my kids were served tater-tots (potato rounds), bread, corn, and a cookie! But most of the kids eat, quickly, they're starving. For some kids in my school, it's supposedly "the best" they'll get all day.

Today, bloggers are writing about hunger and hope. I have to think about my students. Children here in our country are hungry. They deserve good, nutritious food, fresh fruit and vegetables. Why is it that, in our country, food aid programs consist of low-grade, sub-quality left-overs?

Children in my school are hungry; they deserve better.


This Brazen Teacher said...

Government cheese cardboard er pizza... pb and j with more fat than a BK Double Cheese Burger...

indeed my school is not urban, and yet the food choices here are no better.

Check out this woman who totally re-vamped the Berkeley Unified School District... so amazing!

John Spencer said...

I really enjoyed this post. You described the children at my school as well. Though they are in eighth grade, they are quick to eat the free grub, knowing full well that it's not the best we could offer them.

teachin' said...

In my district, we have a superintendent's policy around food. Food is supposed to be good for kids; if we provide snacks, they're supposed to be healthy. If we use candy or something as a reward, we're supposed to also offer kids a choice of pencils or PBS rewards.

And I'm all for that, or at least I WAS, until I realized that my kids are served things like cinnamon buns the size of their heads that drip with frosting for breakfast. If our cafeteria doesn't give a shit about what kids should be eating, I'm sure as hell not going to feel bad about offering kids fruit snacks as a reward on occasion. At least my fruit snacks are fortified with vitamin C.

You're absolutely right. They do deserve better.

Okibum said...

They do deserve better. I wish some of my students would read this before they complain about their carrot sticks and granny smith apples telling me they want fries and cookies.