Ariella finishes her last drawing before running to get ready and go to school. While she is enjoying breakfast in the classroom, she gets inspired by her teacher, Ms. Quijada. When Ariella grows up, she wants to be just like her.
Serenity walks to school holding her grandma’s hand. She’s about to bring joy and energy to a day full of learning. Inspired by her grandma’s generosity to the community, Serenity dreams one day she will become either a doctor or veterinarian.
Oswaldo hugs and kisses his mom and dad before jumping on the same bus that brought for him meals in the hot summer days. He doesn’t know yet what he wants to be when he grows up, but he knows he wants to work in Highland Hills Elementary, his favorite place in the world.
Ariella, Serenity and Oswaldo, like millions of kids in the US, wake up every morning with big dreams. To keep dreaming, playing and growing, they need access to three meals 365 days of the year. Today we bring you the stories of breakfast, lunch and dinner that are making these dreams possible.
Cut apples, a package of waffles, English muffins, cereal, milk in a box, the first meal of the day is the one that is gonna help kids start the day strong.
Vanessa Quijada, a fourth grade teacher at Sunset Elementary in Coalinga, Calif., has seen the difference breakfast in the classroom makes in her students.
“They're not thinking about when lunch is going to be. Or they're not thinking about how hungry they are or how they didn't eat this morning. Because their tummies are full, they're able to be more present in the classroom,” Ms. Quijada shared.
Ariella is one of the students enjoying a delicious breakfast in the classroom. When her turn comes, she runs to the cafeteria with a friend where they get a cart that transports the food for all of her classmates. When the cart arrives at the classroom, you can feel the excitement in the air. The sleepy kids perk up and you hear conversations and laughter.
“No one likes being hungry,” said Ariella. “It's good to eat breakfast so you don't be hungry.”
How your support helps: With funding from No Kid Hungry, the Coalinga-Huron Unified School District was able to kickstart their breakfast in the classroom program by purchasing essential equipment like carts and trash cans. They also received technical assistance to ensure teachers, custodians and administrators were comfortable with this new program. In just over a year, the number of students starting the day with a full belly has tripled in Coalinga and Huron.
Every day is different! From Taco Tuesdays to Pizza Fridays, sloppy joes, sandwiches, salads and fresh fruit, lunch helps kids keep going, beat the afternoon slump and finish their school day strong.
Charrie Gordon works as a parent liaison at Northmore Elementary in Palm Beach County in Florida. She loves being on lunch duty because she has the opportunity to engage kids and ask them about the meals they are eating.
She takes the stage and with a microphone asks students questions about why it is important to have healthy meals. The little ones yell “so my stomach doesn’t grabble;” the older ones talk about how it can help them with school, their dreams and goals. Ms. Gordon sends them a message of love, a message that says, "You got this. You can do it. Believe in yourself."
And you see this confidence in Serenity who is just finishing the 4th grade. She is a happy girl who loves math and science. At her young age, she understands why food is so important.
“Food helps me learn because food keeps me energized,” she shares. “It keeps me alive in the day. Always gonna need some food before I learn.”
How your support helps: With support from No Kid Hungry, Northmore Elementary has been able to purchase new coolers and equipment that helps little kids access healthier choices for milk, fruit and vegetables. Their staff has also received professional development to support their work and ensure all kids have the meals they need to thrive.
Turkey and cheese sandwiches, celery sticks, cranberries and applesauce, dinner is essential for kids to make it to the end of the day and have a great night of sleep to be ready for the next day.
Jenny Arredondo is the senior executive director of child nutrition in San Antonio ISD. She works to ensure kids in her community have access to all the meals they need to thrive.
“There isn't anything else that I would rather do than serve the district in this role,” she shared. “It's very empowering to know the lives that we can touch and what we can do to help end student hunger.”
This passion shows in how Arredondo has implemented an array of programs to ensure kids get three meals a day 365 days a year. Part of her efforts have included the implementation of meals for children participating in the afterschool program, along with other programs like breakfast in the classroom and second chance breakfast.
Oswaldo’s family has overcome great challenges in this past year. His dad experienced sudden medical challenges, and his mom had to become the breadwinner while also taking care of the tasks at home. But the district was there for Oswaldo and his sisters during this time.
“Those foods make me happy and feel better,” said Oswaldo expressing in his own words how much it means to have that support.
How your support helps: With funding from No Kid Hungry, San Antonio ISD has purchased rolling coolers and has had the assistance from experts to implement programs like afterschool meals.
Every day kids like Oswaldo, Serenity and Ariella wake up knowing they will have three meals that day. These meals will help them grow, learn, overcome challenges and become the best that they can be.
Your support has made these meals possible.
“We are kind of boots on the ground,” shared Arredondo. “And we know the needs that exist in our community. And through their support we have been able to not only provide great child nutrition meal services, but extend services through support that we otherwise would not have had…We know that the services we provide mean a lot. — they mean the difference in kids eating or not.”
1 in 8 kids continue to live with hunger in the US, and inflation has made it increasingly difficult for low and middle income families to afford the meals they need. Together we can make a difference. Join us to make No Kid Hungry a reality.