July 3, 2009

Beyond Bread: Childhood Hunger Has Lasting Effects

~Longer school days may not be the only reason that students overseas have a competitive advantage over Americans in the international workplace. A study by Feeding America (pdf) asserts that one of the reasons that American students are having trouble making the grade in the global job market is because they experience childhood hunger, saying "food insecurity and hunger together with other correlates of poverty, can dramatically alter the architecture of children’s brains, making it impossible for them to fulfill their potential." Hungry kids can’t concentrate as well in school and subsequently receive less of an education as their peers with full tummies. These under-educated children have a greater tendency to mature into under-employed adults more likely to experience poverty. Hunger doesn’t stop when class isn’t in session, either. The Washington Post notes: "Millions of children pass July and August malnourished and idle, conditions that promote obesity and contribute to the well-documented learning gap between haves and have-nots."
~Bread for the City is expanding our Medical Clinic, and Greater Greater Washington just posted a neat old picture of what once stood where we will stand: the Broadway Theatre!

~It seems like Bread for the City has been all over the blogosphere these past few weeks. We’re grateful to the DCist, DCBlogs, We Love DC, Capital Spice, Dining in DC, and Bloomingdale blogs for helping us make up the $10,360 deficit in our food budget last month--it's a victory worthy of fanfare!

~This week we had a first-hand experience with food waste (and bizarrely shaped produce). Thanks to Campus Kitchens Project national blog for picking up the story.

1 comment:

povertyandpolicy said...

Congratulations on closing your budget gap!

Re. the WaPo's article on summer meal programs: That good news here is that the District seems to be doing an outstanding job. In 2007 (the latest year for which comparative figures are available), it served summer meals to 96% of children who were eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the school year. No state did even half so well.

The not-good news is that the District doesn't do nearly so well with breakfasts. During the 2007-8 school year, only half the children who participated in the free or reduced-price lunch program also participated in a breakfast program. And D.C. couldn't have gotten any federal support for free suppers—still can't.

I've blogged on all three programs at povertyandpolicy.wordpress.com. The postings are filed under Food & Nutrition. As they indicate, all the programs are constrained by legislative, regulatory and financial barriers. And there are ways to significantly reduce them.