Over one in five American children lack steady access to sufficient food, and over 50 million total Americans are food insecure. Here in Pennsylvania, a new study shows that nearly 2 million people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – including more than a half a million children – do not always know where they will find their next meal. In all, 14.9 percent of the population in Pennsylvania – nearly 1 out of every 6 Pennsylvanians – struggle with hunger, according to research from Feeding America.
Here in Pittsburgh, the thorny problem of poverty and hunger is compounded by race. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Pittsburgh Region has the highest rate of poverty among working-age African Americans of any of the 40 largest metropolitan regions in the country. More than a quarter (28%) of the region’s African Americans aged 18-64 live in poverty. That’s twice as high as in regions such as Baltimore and Charlotte. At Pittsburgh Linden, 71% of the Pittsburgh Linden students are eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch program.
Research shows that when kids are hungry, the can’t learn. Hungry kids are more likely to be sick and miss schools days, they can’t concentrate, they complain of headaches and stomach aches, and, quite often, as a result, they don’t do well academically. Teachers affirm these patterns; 80% of teachers in a recent survey reported that they see kids coming hungry to their classes at least once a week.
In response, parents and volunteers at Pittsburgh Linden have created the Linden Backpack Initiative. This effort provides weekend food supplies for students who qualify for free meals during the school day. Students in need can go home each week with individual care packages assembled by Pittsburgh Linden volunteers. This program operates on donations, and we need your support.
Please consider helping us help our community! No kid should go hungry!
- Ann Panush
- Shannon Macken
- Ann Panush
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