Many studies have shown a strong correlation between hunger and academic performance in students. Hunger and food insecurity can present significant barriers to a child’s academic education and result in behavioral problems at school, both of which make them less likely to be successful as adults.
Our Backpack Program addresses this problem by providing weekend food bags to nearly 300 nutritionally at-risk school students each year. This ensures that these children have meals to carry them through the weekend until returning to school and a daily lunch program. Each backpack contains a variety of items, such as shelf-stable milk, canned meats, applesauce or canned fruit, cereal, fresh fruit and vegetable and a nutritional bar.
This fall we began assisting 140 students at the Mission School in the San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham. Other schools currently or previously benefiting from our program include Sahuarita Primary and Intermediate Schools, Continental Elementary School, and Summit View Elementary.
Many young students are underachieving academically and are suffering physically because they lack a proper nutrition. Children who suffer from hunger are often labeled in their classrooms as the "troublemakers" or "unmotivated," and the root cause of their behavior is not addressed. More teachers, parents, and policy makers are now realizing that a lack of proper nutrition is to blame for this myriad of academic and behavioral issues, and they are fighting to improve the health and well-being of these affected children.