Recent Study Shows Child Hunger Problems

Myers Elementary started the Blue Devil Backpack Program to help fight childhood hunger.

Devin Poplin, Staff Writer

A recent study showed that three out of five teachers believe that kids in their classes come to school hungry. Along with that, 56 percent of teachers who see the problem of childhood hunger believe it’s getting worse. So, the question is…Do we have these same problems at Bellwood-Antis?

“There is no doubt we have some students who are hungry,” said Myers Principal Mrs. Terri Harpster.  “There is one family in particular that comes to mind. Hopefully, all students who are hungry get a school breakfast and lunch each weekday.”

So what is the BA school district doing to help out their students? This year the elementary school started the Blue Devil Backpack Program.

The Blue Devil Backpack Program is a program for students who may not get the meals they need outside of school. The students take a backpack home every week filled with nutritious food that is mostly purchased from the Central PA Food Bank in Harrisburg. Teachers can refer students that they believe need this program to Mrs. Heckman and students remain confidential.

“The backpack program is intended to help those who are hungry with some food on the weekends when students cannot get the school breakfast and lunch,” said Mrs. Harpster. “We currently have 38 students in the Backpack program. That is 8% of out student population, and most likely an underestimate.”

Middle school English Mr. Partner along with many other teachers in the Bellwood-Antis School District agree that student hunger is a problem here.

“Things are so different these days,” said Mr. Partner.  “A lot of parents are much younger and struggling with jobs, a bad economy, and children with busy lives. They aren’t always around to make sure their child is getting the good meals that they need if they are constantly at work or are a single parent family. I think that the breakfast program we have really helps the kids out while they are at school at least.