My students need healthy sources of protein, such as cheese, nuts and (healthier) jerky. They need snacks for home or to start the day.
Our school serves the culturally and linguistically diverse youth in and around downtown San Diego. We proudly teach a population of students with a high percentage of English Learners and Special Education. About 75% of the students at our school receive free and reduced lunch because their families are low income. The majority of these kids are urban kids and have very little experience with hands-on, lab science, healthy eating or outdoor spaces (such as a garden).
Many of our students have experienced poverty or homelessness and come to school hungry or undernourished.
Some of my students simply don't get enough food. The meals they get at the school are often the best (or only) meals they receive all day. I want to send hungry or homeless kids out of my classroom with food items to share with their families. I know that we have families (and kids) that are homeless and all of the other teachers know to send them to me to get food.
I'm doing my best to feed my students so that they are not hungry and can learn. As a result of our school garden program, my students are slowly learning to prefer healthy, fresh foods (like salad or nuts) over junk food. That's where you come in! This project will provide the nutritious sources of protein that my students desperately need. At home, they often end up eating junk food (if they eat anything at all) because it's cheaper. They can take the snacks provided by DonorsChoose home or eat them at the start of the day. I'm asking for lots of healthy, portable sources of protein, such as jerky, nuts, and cheese.
We will be learning important lessons about food justice, which examines the connections between poverty and nutrition.
These sorts of lessons are incredibly relevant to my student's lives, as they are constantly snacking on unhealthy foods and many of them live in poverty or are homeless. This is especially the case for my homeless students, whom I take extra special care of. I'm the 'go to' staff member whenever any teacher finds out their student is homeless. For example, the mental health counselors are often the ones to find out if a child is homeless. They see me for healthy food to give to kids. In addition, each year we make care packages for the homeless that live just blocks from the school and we have all of the incoming Freshman students deliver the care packages. I'd like to include some of the foods from this DonorsChoose project in those care packages. I'd also like to engage the students in other activities that support the homeless community near our school campus.
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