Hunger has been called America’s silent crisis.
It’s not a condition evident to the casual observer. It’s not something widely discussed - even among those for whom getting enough to eat is a daily challenge. Yet it’s a very real problem. The federal government projects that 1 in 7 Americans are “food insecure”. Our community is not immune.
There are programs that provide students with food during the school day, yet, there can be a gap on weekends or summers when students do not receive assistance from these programs. It is estimated that upwards of 600 students in the Hershey area face food shortages. And to the surprise of many, according to Feeding America, growth in poverty is highest in the middle class suburbs.
Percent of Free & Reduced Lunches - Derry School District
When a child receives inadequate nutrition and calories, the body instinctively prioritizes the nutrition it receives from food:
First - to the maintenance of vital organs
Second – for growth
Third – social activity and learning
In Derry Township in 2000, 4% of all students received free & reduced lunches but in 2015, 19% of all students received free & reduced lunches.
According to the latest figures from Derry Township School District and the Federal school lunch program,
1 in 5 students in Derry Township receive free or reduced lunches!
There are areas within Derry Township where poverty rates are approaching 40%!