HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Nearly one third of the children in Alabama live in families with food hardships. That concerns Alabama’s Agriculture Commissioner, John McMillian, who asks, “How are they going to focus on reading, writing and arithmetic if they've got a headache and a stomach ache and other issues?”
McMillian issued a call to action Monday to launch the End Child Hunger in Alabama campaign at Huntsville’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. He worries that some kids are coming to school with no fuel in their body on Mondays.
“How would one of us function if we hadn't had much to eat over the weekend and trying to get to work on Monday morning and think about our jobs and our goals and that sort of thing,” asked McMillian.
One way to end child hunger is Blessings in a Backpack, a program to make sure impoverished elementary school children are fed on the weekends. Danielle Turk is with the Alabama child nutrition program. She says when you see kids more focused on cleaning their plate rather than talking to friends, you know they're coming to school hungry.
Turk adds, “And then they're trying to ask friends for the food that they might not want to eat and then they're trying to sneak some extra things in their backpack and then when you tell them they're not supposed to take that outside the lunchroom then they say they're taking it home to their sister.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. elementary will be Huntsville's first Blessings in a Backpack school. If you would like to get involved by giving money or donating a backpack, go to blessingsinabackpack.org for more information