Group seeks ways to ensure NC students don't go hungry
Posted January 19, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — More than 100 teachers, nonprofit leaders and business executives met in Raleigh Thursday to look for new ways to battle childhood hunger.
Officials estimate that one in four children in North Carolina is hungry and that about half of public school students statewide aren't always sure where their next meal is coming from.
"This is shameful and is inconsistent with our stated belief that we care about the future of our children and our country," former Congresswoman Eva Clayton said.
Studies have shown that hungry children don't perform as well in school as their peers.
Lynn Harvey, chief of school nutrition programs for the state Department of Public Instruction, said access to subsidized meals on weekends and during school vacations presents a problem, as does the stigma students face.
"Many children, even when they're hungry, if they're being identified as being eligible for free meals at school, the stigma associated with that is so great they choose not to eat," Harvey said. "They'd rather go hungry than be socially stigmatized by their peers. We've got to overcome that barrier as well."
"No Kid Hungry" pilot programs around the state help break the stigma by offering free breakfast to all students and letting them eat in class together.