Basic nutrition is a human right that all children in America deserve. The recent New York Times Magazine article, “America at Hunger’s Edge,” highlights the broken system – exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – that leaves millions of Americans with chronic food insecurity. Access to healthful food has become a privilege that one in eight households can no longer afford. The economic consequences of the pandemic have pushed America’s hunger and malnutrition problems into a state of emergency. Still, the underlying causes are historically rooted in our broken food system and assistance programs.
Inequitable access to healthy foods has led to a rise in diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, which disproportionately affects BIPOC families. Many Americans struggle to afford fresh fruits and vegetables, and high-quality proteins due to low wages, expired COVID unemployment benefits, unaffordable housing, and other economic oppressors. Others face unstocked store shelves, lack of fresh food options, unreliable transportation, and longer pantry lines, limiting their access to real foods altogether. On top of the health and nutrition consequences of food insecurity, hungry kids have a hard time in school – this leads to educational lags and future struggles with job performance and economic advancement.
The only way to fix our broken, inequitable food system is through systemic changes – and that is precisely what Eat Real is working to do. For millions of children across the country, school meals account for up to 50% of their daily caloric intake. Even as many schools switch to remote learning, they are still providing meals. Eat Real works with schools to create healthier and more sustainable meals for students. We have expanded our certification program from 51 to 237 schools in one year and have built a COVID-19 relief program network of over 2,000 schools. In addition to supporting schools as they continue to safely deliver nutritious school meals, we are helping them expand what they can offer through food donations to include food boxes to feed the entire family.
Our recent survey found that 100% of school foodservice providers agree that universal free school meals for all children is key to fighting hunger and ensuring all children have reliable access to healthy food. By supporting our schools, we are working towards creating a more equitable food system.
Please donate today to help us make systematic changes to increase food access and nutrition for all children.