I knew this would be a unique experience because I am from a single parent low income household. There were many times that my mom and family had to choose between food and other necessities.
As a state that is consistently at or near the top of the national poverty rankings, Arkansas’s need for anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs is very high. People living in poverty stands at 19%, households considered food insecure is 19.1%. Twenty seven percent of children live in poverty and one in four (26.3%) are food insecure.
We all know the feeling in the pit of our stomachs from childhood (and some of us from parenthood) when being called to the principal’s office. “Oh no. I am in trouble.” One in 6 children in the U.S. are in trouble and they do have a bad feeling in the pit of their stomachs, not because they are in trouble, but because they suffer from hunger.
It is well documented that breakfast has an important positive impact on student academic achievement, health and well-being. Although all Arkansas schools provide a school breakfast program, many of our neediest students are not starting the school day with breakfast. So what are we doing to help increase the number of students who are eating school breakfast?
Upon choosing to dedicate my first year out of college to serving on the Cooking Matters team at the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, I had some vague expectations about what I would be doing. I expected to mostly teach cooking classes with low income individuals.