One of the first things anyone learns about in a biology class is that food and proper nutrition are essential for survival, particularly in young children. While many are aware of this fact, it is unfortunate that there are children who lack access to proper sources of nutrition and food in many parts of the world. Child hunger is rampant everywhere. One could argue that it is more prevalent in third world countries or underdeveloped countries or cities, but child hunger exists in all parts of the world.
Before Covid-19 forced a global lockdown to take place, millions of children already went hungry all over the world. Unfortunately, once the worldwide lockdown began, children were more ravenous than ever before. The pandemic caused businesses to downsize and even close, resulting in parents losing their jobs and their primary source of income, therefore resulting in millions of children going hungry.
From Data provided by Feed the Children and Children’s Defense, we’ve learned that in the United States alone, the percentage of food-insecure households consisted of 20-38% of the overall population as a result of the pandemic. In addition to that, we learned that in 2019, over 10 million children belonged to families that struggled with food insecurity.
Children belonging to families that are considered to be minorities are more likely to suffer from hunger. This is because people in minority communities are sometimes paid less. If we link this reason to the pandemic, it goes to show that minority families are already struggling, but with the added struggle of losing a job to the pandemic, the effort to put food on the table gets even worse.
In the United States, over 50% of public school-going children get lunch either for free or at a reduced price. As a result of these hot meals, students get a good amount of nutrition without worrying about getting food at home. In cases where children come from extreme poverty, these meals are sometimes their only source of food.
We’ve also learned that in the United States, schools now serve all children meals, regardless of what their economic status is. This is a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Community Eligibility Provision in the US offered meals to children before the pandemic took place. It is a big move for public schools because this means that there are no charges to the students. The money that was reduced by administrative costs now allows schools to invest in providing students with an adequate amount of food that is made with proper nutritious ingredients and not cost-effective ingredients that do more harm than good.
The pandemic has caused an immense loss in many ways everywhere, but in terms of child hunger, it’s caused children to miss out on getting an adequate amount of nutritious food on a regular basis. Prior to the pandemic, children often had to fend for themselves or figure out alternative ways to eat over the weekends and holidays, but they still got at least five meals a week, if not more. However, after the spread of Covid-19 caused schools to shut down, children lost access to food and nutrition.
We’d urge you, please find out more about child hunger and donate to a charity or organization working to help this crisis abate. Additionally, you could volunteer at your local food bank, donate a monthly supply of food to a family or child in need, or you could simply publicize this cause online if you don’t have the means to help out financially. Most importantly, don’t waste your food at all.