Food for Learning
Imagine sitting in a classroom, struggling to pay attention and learn, because you haven't eaten in three days. Unfortunately, this is a reality for 25% of students in Caroline County. These children rarely get a meal except when they're at school. Studies show that children who don't eat over the weekend are not alert enough to learn until Wednesday after they begin receiving meals in school. This means these children are losing half of their time in school to hunger. The consequences of childhood hunger are significant:
Approximately 2/3 of these children are at risk for developmental delays.
By the time they are teenagers, these children are twice as likely to have seen a psychiatrist or have been suspended from school.
Children who come to school hungry have lower standardized test scores than low-income children who arrive at school well-fed.
Nationally, less than 5% of children living in poverty are likely to graduate high school.
about the backpack program
In 2015, Caroline County Public Schools launched an initiative to provide children in need with food for the weekend. On Fridays, these children are provided with backpacks filled with food. This puts the food directly into the kids' hands, ensuring they are able to eat over the weekend regardless of their circumstances at home.
CCPS also coordinates a summer food program, distributing free meals to kids 18 and younger throughout the County.
These efforts ensure children arrive at school prepared to learn. Results include improved academic performance and decreased behavioral issues.