School Lunch Half a World Away

June 6, 2013

One of our signature campaigns here at the Community Foundation of New Jersey is to promote greater access to school breakfast throughout the state.  In our School Breakfast Update, we made the case that:

Feeding kids first thing in the morning boosts performance, gives the school nurse a break, and positions the state to claim federal reimbursements annually. In short, serving breakfast in schools is a no-brainer.

One of our goals has been to ensure that breakfasts the schools already qualify for actually reach the roughly 300,000 New Jersey students who start the school day hungry.  Doing so would be a major improvement in child health and education.

This important work recently led us to take a second look at what the World Food Programme is doing in Ethiopia.  Linda Nordin Thorslund of the United Nations Association of Sweden said it best in a recent tweet:

Imagine that.  Providing meals in schools does more than simply boost health or academic performance.  In places like Ethiopia, it helps to keep young girls safe and preserve their potential.

The work of providing food to children, whether in New Jersey or Ethiopia, can be for varied reasons, may lead to varied results, and may be carried out by varied organizations.  What’s most important is that it preserves their opportunities in life.