By Nick Arent, organizer, Virginia Fair Share Education Fund
It is time for winter break for students in Alexandria. Most children are looking forward to getting two weeks off from school to play with friends, celebrate the holidays and spend extra time with family.
For some kids, however, a break from school means the possibility of going hungry. Almost 3,500 children in Alexandria are food insecure, which means that they don’t always get enough to eat. Free and reduced price school meals are a significant source of nutrition for students who are at risk of going hungry, but children miss out on these meals over winter break when school is not in session. This puts a lot of strain on low-income families, who are trying to arrange childcare and deal with all of the other expenses that life throws at us.
Children need healthy food to grow big and strong and can struggle in school. Without proper nutrition, they are more likely to develop health problems and experience other complications that can hold them back in life. We need to invest more into making sure every child is getting enough to eat — not just because it is a smart investment in our future — but because it is the right thing to do.