GE DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to Liz, a fourth grade teacher at Irving Park Elementary, the fastest way for her to tell if a kid is going without food at home is their behavior at the lunch table. She watches her student’s carefully. When she sees someone that is antsy to get to lunch and asks others to share their food, she knows that child is not getting enough to eat. The students who don’t eat dinner are always the hungriest for lunch. With it being very hard to communicate with some families, she has to rely on what the clues she sees in the cafeteria.

Three students in her class this year get a weekly bag from BackPack Beginnings. She sees that their focus and work improves when the issue of hunger is being addressed. Their overall performance goes up. Liz can see the positive effects of knowing someone cares. Not only does their school work improve, so does their attitude and self-esteem.

All three BackPack Beginnings recipients in her room are very open with her classmates that they are getting the bags. She even has to remind them not to leave them sitting out by their desks. Her kids are excited to go pick up their bags and they start reminding her early every Friday morning that they need to go get them. Getting out of class to pick them up and taking home snacks and food for an entire weekend–for fourth graders, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Written on 6/3/2013 by Blogger Thea DeLoreto