In partnership with the nonprofit group Share Our Strength (SOS), the AFT is gearing up to help launch the No Kid Hungry campaign, which is aimed at eradicating child hunger by 2015. To start, AFT affiliates are asking their members to take a No Kid Hungry pledge online.
What is the pledge? It's a national effort to mobilize Americans in the fight to end child hunger. The campaign will give people tangible actions they can take to connect children facing hunger with the nutritious food they need every day. Like everything AFT members do both in their lives and work, the pledge is for people who believe they can make a difference in tackling a huge obstacle facing our nation's children.
Many AFT affiliates already are working in various ways with food pantries, food drives and community kitchens—often right in their own workplaces. After taking the pledge, AFT members will receive e-mail updates about the No Child Hungry campaign. The AFT will follow up with strategies on how our local unions can become even more effective in helping end childhood hunger in their communities. The campaign will provide additional opportunities for AFT members to learn more about child hunger and to connect with other activists in their own neighborhoods.
In an SOS survey of teachers last year (see earlier article), more than 60 percent said they see children coming to school hungry because they're not getting enough to eat at home. In fact, you and your members may have recognized the signs of childhood hunger on the job: children suffering from poor health, often feeling tired or sick; sleeping in class or in the hospital waiting room; having difficulty with math and language skills; acting aggressively, feeling anxious or having trouble concentrating; having slower memory recall; frequently missing school or arriving late; and underperforming. SOS notes that something as basic as breakfast or a snack can dramatically improve a child's success in school.
The SOS website includes a story about their efforts during the recent AFT convention to gather stories from members about hunger in their schools.
The official launch of the No Kid Hungry campaign is planned for November. In the meantime, take the pledge, ask your union brothers and sisters to do the same, and stay tuned for other ways we can mobilize AFT members to end childhood hunger. [Annette Licitra, Lauren Samet]
August 18, 2010