When teachers brought free lunch to kids amid COVID-19, they saw poverty up close


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience.

Found this article link on singer Cher's Twitter feed. Sharing with the School Nurse community re poverty issues--know many of you deal with  it on a routine basis. Glad to see that free school lunches being continued til September 2021 for communities eligible.  Karen

USA Today 1/3/21

When teachers brought free lunch to kids amid COVID-19, they saw poverty up close



First-grade teacher Shiela Garland had long known that 100% of students in Arizona’s Stanfield Elementary School District, where she has taught for 16 years, ate free meals.

Garland did not really know what those numbers meant until this Spring, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and schools closed across the United States. Suddenly, she and other Stanfield staff found themselves in masks and gloves, riding up to 150 miles a day on school buses traversing gravel and dirt roads to hand out food and homework packets to children.

Before the pandemic, Garland usually saw her students only in the classroom. Some students’ homes she visited lacked electricity, indoor plumbing or windows, she said. 

“Going out there and actually pulling up in front of the houses, you know, to deliver the food and stuff and seeing the situation these kids are living in – it breaks your heart,” Garland said. ...

,,,“It's the first thing that most superintendents at small rural districts wake up at 4 o'clock in the morning and think about: ‘How am I going to get these kids fed today?’” said David Ardrey, executive director of the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools. ...



NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience. 8 Articles; 4,411 Posts

We did a car parade back in the Spring during remote learning....I have no doubt it was VERY enlightening for much of our staff. We drove through the gorgeous waterfront areas...and then less than a few miles away, thru very sparse and ramshackle areas...SOme were in tears when it was all over.

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing. 3,011 Posts

My school has been putting together their own food pantry. We deliver bags of fresh food weekly. I started delivering to a few families in December. A few awesome teachers do it, but it is actually mainly admin/support staff that have stepped up regularly to deliver. I wish a few more of them did take part to get a needed glimpse. 

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 13 years experience. 3,141 Posts

I think we all sort of know it. What has happened is that we can no longer ignore it. There is no way to unlink educational performance and low SES. Never has been, but now we have to both acknowledge it and do something about it.

BrisketRN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience. 915 Posts

This really hit me.  Both the article and the experiences shared here.  Thank you for sharing.