September 2023 Food for Thought
Advocacy postcards through our Food for Thought program are back! We have sample messages to elected officials, blank postcards, and stamps waiting and ready to go at Extraordinary Ventures during our sort dates. If you are coming to volunteer or to drop off donated food, please feel welcome to join as you can (this time or in the future – the messaging changes each month). There will be a table set up with postcards and someone on hand to walk you through postcard writing if you’re new to it – it’s super easy! The time commitment is less than 5 minutes for a postcard. Let our legislators and other elected officials know that we are paying attention and that we insist they enact policies that prioritize our most vulnerable neighbors.
Want to write a postcard from home? Go for it! Our sample messaging for this month is below. (Note: If you would rather email or call your elected officials, feel free! We encourage you to reach out in whatever way is most comfortable.)
Once you have contacted your elected officials, we ask that you fill out this brief form to let us know that you have done so. It will only take a minute. This helps us to measure our impact! Thank you!
Dear Senator/Representative [NAME],
Sixty percent of NC children qualify for no-cost school meals but lunch shaming results in kids skipping meals instead. Providing all students with no-cost meals is a solution shown to better school performance. Please support our kids!
Rep. Allen Buansi
300 N. Salisbury Street, Rm. 514
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Rep. Renee Price
16 West Jones Street, Rm. 1315
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Sen. Graig Meyer
16 West Jones Street, Rm. 1121
Raleigh, NC 27601
Need to find a different representative in the NC General Assembly? Enter your address here!
In North Carolina, 1 in 6 children struggle with hunger, which means they aren’t able to get enough food or they aren’t able to get enough healthy food. That’s over 400,000 children in our state.
Yet 29% of those children do not qualify for free or reduced-price school meals because their family’s income is too high. Providing no-cost school meals can help.
Kids who eat healthy school meals do better in school. Students who participate in free school meal programs also have fewer visits to the school nurse, as well as documented improvements in behavior and mental health indicators.
“Lunch shaming” means more kids skip meals
Unfortunately “lunch shaming” practices are not uncommon in some North Carolina school districts. These can include throwing away a student’s meal when they can’t pay, providing “alternative meals” such as a cheese sandwich, or barring participation in school events like graduation. To avoid such treatment, many hungry children will choose not to eat meals at all. We can end this problem once and for all by providing every student with no-cost school meals.
School nutrition programs in North Carolina face growing meal debt
By November 2022, schools in North Carolina had accrued more than $1.3 million in unpaid meal charges this school year. It’s clear that families are struggling to pay for school meals. The simplest solution to school meal debt is to make school meals available to all students in public schools at no cost to their families.
In a typical school year, more than 60% of children are eligible for subsidized meals in our state. In 28 North Carolina school districts, over 90% of children are enrolled in free or reduced-price school meal programs. It makes sense to simply provide them all at no cost.
Every student should be able to get nutritious meals at school, whatever their family income. Contact your state legislators now!