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Reading, writing and hunger: More than 13 million kids in this country go to school hungry

Every once in a while my teenage son gets in the car after school and complains that he didn’t get enough to eat at lunch, so struggled through the last period with a raging headache and inability to concentrate. The next morning, he gets eggs for breakfast and I pack him a double lunch, loading up on protein snacks like peanuts and cheese. I don’t want anything to impede his ability to learn, least of all an empty stomach.

Unfortunately, for over 13 million kids in this country, going to school hungry is the norm. One in five children in the United States live in food insecure households, which means they lack consistent access to enough food.

“There are food insecure and hungry kids in every Congressional district and every demographic,” says Lucy Melcher, the director of advocacy and government relations for the nonprofit Share Our Strength, which runs the No Kid Hungry campaign. “Food insecurity is a family that has enough money to buy groceries three out of four weeks; it’s a mom skipping dinner; it’s having to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.”


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