Focused on Food - By Hope Pascoe

November 22, 2013

The Child Hunger Corps is a national service program designed to increase the capacity and capability of food banks to execute programs targeted towards the alleviation of child hunger. The objective of the program is to increase the number of nutritious snacks and meals served to children in need in local communities across the country. The Child Hunger Corps initiative is sponsored by the ConAgra Foods Foundation.

In August 2013, the fourth cohort of six new Corps members were placed at Feeding America member food banks, bringing the current total to 15 Child Hunger Corps members working at food banks across the country. This post is by fourth cohort member Hope Pascoe, Child Hunger Corps member at Southeast Missouri Food Bank.

One of the most unproductive times in my day is 11:30am. Without fail I will spend the next 30 minutes of my life glancing at the clock every three minutes and finding my mind wander from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to goldfish crackers and back...I call this my dark hour. I am moody, covered in the hunger sweats, and ready to binge. What if my whole day was this dark period? For 1 in 5 kids in Southeast Missouri the hunger sweats are plaguing their daily routine.

While conducting my community needs assessment I have been going through surveys from parents, school staff, and students that are currently enrolled in our Backpack program (Backpacks for Friday). One of the most common answers from staff is proving that the food has yielded a more focused kid in the classroom.

One teacher even offered thanks for the improvement she saw in her students listening abilities and increased attendance. Other school staff members have also noticed an increase in grades and behavior. The more I read these comments and examine my own life the more obvious it becomes: Food is our fuel. You wouldn't starve your car of fuel and expect it to run efficiently.

If it is this hard for me to sit down and focus for 30 minutes before lunch what would I do if I knew there was no lunch coming? During my two years in Missouri I have set a lot of goals for myself. I want answers to these questions, reasons for the actions being taken, and most importantly I want to make sure that no kid in our 16 counties has to feel those hunger pains on a regular bases again.


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