It’s a crying shame that there are children amongst us who
are going hungry.
But it’s true and the numbers readily available to us can’t
begin to paint the real picture.
We have almost 1,000 students getting assistance to buy
school lunches, according to the Department of Children and Family Services.
That’s only the children they know about in the public school system.
Feed our Future is a charity that provides financial help
with meals and service club Kiwanis has for five years been collecting money
and seeing to it that children receive breakfast.
The need is real and stark.
The facts about child hunger – found at the Share our
Strength No Kid Hungry website – are troubling.
Children who struggle with hunger are sick more often,
recover more slowly, and are more likely to be hospitalised.
They are more likely to experience headaches, stomach aches,
colds, ear infections and fatigue.
Children who face hunger are more susceptible to obesity and
its harmful health consequences as children and as later adults.
Undernourished children 0-3 years of age cannot learn as
much, as fast or as well.
Lack of enough nutritious food impairs a child’s ability to
concentrate and perform well in school.
Children who regularly do not get enough nutritious food to
eat have significantly higher levels of behavioural, emotional and academic
problems and are more aggressive and anxious.
Teens who regularly do not get enough to eat are more likely
to be suspended from school and have difficulty getting along with other kids.
In some cases, parents are being negligent, spending money
on material items instead of making sure their children are well fed. But in
many instances in the Cayman Islands, these children come from homes where
parents struggle to pay bills and live day-to-day.
Funnily enough, this isn’t an election issue, but it should
be. What can the people seeking your vote do when in office to help put an end
to child hunger? It’s a community problem and needs a community answer.