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Mother and child at food bank
Lisa Sherrill's picture

Did you know September is Hunger Action Month?

With millions of people in the United States needing help to put food on the table, we are calling on everyone to act against hunger.

Here is an easy way to get involved: Share the signs of child hunger.

Kids often feel so ashamed of not getting enough to eat that they keep it hidden. Learn and share the subtle signs of hunger on social media using #HungerActionMonth to encourage others to help.

Before we learn the signs of child hunger, let’s talk about how hunger impacts children. 

How does hunger impact kids?
Chances are, one of your children’s classmates at school is not getting enough to eat at home. If there are 30 kids in your child’s class, four of them could be facing hunger. That’s because 1 in 7 kids in the United States doesn’t know where their next meal will come from. That’s more than 11 million children across the country!

How does hunger affect a child’s ability to learn?

Sadly, hunger may impact a child’s school performance. Research demonstrates that children from families who are not sure where their next meal may come from are more likely to have lower math scores and repeat a grade, among other challenges.

What are the effects of hunger on child development?

Kids at risk of hunger may be less equipped to reach their full potential as they engage with the world around them. Studies show that children from homes that lack consistent access to food are more likely to experience developmental impairments in areas like language, motor skills, and behavior.

What does a child need to succeed in school?

Children need nutrients so they can grow, develop and focus on learning instead of thinking about the food they need. Ultimately, they need to be able to concentrate in the classroom so they can succeed in school and be prepared to enter the workforce as adults.

Learn the signs of child hunger

Children may feel so ashamed of not getting enough to eat that they keep it hidden from the adults who care about them the most. That makes it challenging to identify a child struggling with hunger. But you can look out for these signs:

  • They ask about food every day and they’re not picky about what they eat. 
  • They suddenly lose or gain weight but don’t change their activity level.
  • They hoard snacks and food.
  • They bully others or behave badly.
  • They have a poor attention span, memory or trouble concentrating.
  • They are hyperactive or impulsive.
  • They show aggressive or antisocial behavior.

You may have noticed a child you know showing some or all these signs. The good news is that there are many ways to help and resources available to assist children and families in need.

If you are concerned that a student in your child’s class may be struggling with hunger, remember, it is important not to single them out or embarrass them in front of other students or teachers. We recommend expressing your concern to the school’s guidance counselor who can help connect them with the help they need, like their local food bank. 

Adapted from the following Feeding America articles:


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