Hungry children represent not only a moral crisis but also a dire educational and economic risk for the nation. Children who go hungry in kindergarten are noticeably behind their peers in reading and math by third grade. Hungry children suffer from hyperactivity, absenteeism, and generally do worse both socially and academically in school. They are more likely to need special assistance or repeat a grade. And some of them may never catch up.
When parents cannot afford healthy meals for their babies and toddlers, the consequences are potentially devastating. Failing to systematically and comprehensively address the issue of food insecurity among children–an issue that currently plagues over 12 million U.S. households1–hurts their ability to succeed in school and in life. It also hinders the nation’s ability to develop the productive workforce that we need.