Monday, November 19, 2007

Chronically Hungry...

... Think about that term for a moment. Think about what it means to you. Try to apply it to yourself. When have you been "chronically hungry?"

How about that time you went camping and didn't take enough to eat. How about that week you worked so hard and didn't really have time to stop for lunch. Do any of them really apply? Do they really hold up to the reality?

Just outside my office, a few blocks down the road, but still in the deep shadow of the multi-million dollar downtown towers is a school... Ingersoll Elementary. At Ingersoll 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Let me state it another way. Think of your 10 best friends when you were 8 years old. Now imagine that you were the only one who could afford lunch.

Now imagine that several kids in that same group not only got free lunches at school, but that many times that was the ONLY meal they ate before they went to bed. Maybe even the only meal they ate all day long.

That is chronically hungry.

Unfortunately there are more than 100 students at Ingersoll that were identified by their teachers and school nurse as chronically hungry. There are lots of indicators. Maybe they can't concentrate at school until after lunch. Maybe they stuff themselves on Friday afternoons. Maybe they come to school with a stomach ache every day. Whatever the reasons, they have been identified as consistently not having enough to eat.

Fortunately for these 100 students there is a pilot program called the BackPack Program that sends them home every weekend with a special backpack, one filled with foods that are simple so they can prepare it for themselves.

On this Thanksgiving week, I hope you will take a second to read the story that Diane Haag and I just published. Then I hope maybe you will take some action. Volunteer for a food bank, hold a food drive, make a donation... do something.


Anonymous 11/20/2007 8:21 AM  

What a beautiful child! It is so tragic that we have people here at home in the USA that suffer and go hungry when our country is continuously sending funds, food, and supplies to foreign countries. I understand that other countries are hurting for relief but should we not put OUR suffering citizens first and other countries after.

shanebevel 11/20/2007 8:44 AM  

Well the thing is that this country and it's people have the money to do both. Instead we choose to spend it on other things and sometimes ignore the sufferings of others.

Hopefully that is changing... at least in this small corner of the world.

FWIW. The Food Bank has taken many calls since this story ran on Monday about how to donate to the BackPack program.

Diane Haag 11/20/2007 11:39 AM  

Thanks again for your time with the pictures. That little girl tells the story better than words ever could.

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