A group of students at Bremen High School in Midlothian, Illinois, participated in a food drive recently, filling buses with boxes of food and delivering them to St Christopher School, student reporter Aniah Cates reports in The Echo.
Participants enjoyed being able to do something good for the community and, during the pandemic, being able to see their classmates again, even if it was through a mask and at a socially-safe distance.
The growing incidence of hunger and food insecurity during the pandemic has been widely reported.
In Houston, for instance, officials report that local food banks have experienced an exponential increase in demand since the pandemic began. And although not as many young people as elderly adults die from Covid-19, the economic damage caused by the virus has increased the likelihood that students will become malnourished.
“My husband’s been laid off,” KPRC-TV in Houston (NBC affiliate) quoted one mom as saying. “Having a little bit of extra food to help, especially to feed the kiddos, it’s super important for keeping them healthy.”
Nationwide, the number of families that “sometimes” or “often” don’t have enough food to eat has reached its highest levels since the pandemic began, reaching a nationwide average of 12.7 percent in mid-November.
In Illinois, about 12.2 percent of households reported food scarcity. In Maryland, the percentage of households reporting that they sometimes or often didn’t have enough food to eat jumped to a high of 16.1 percent.
The percentages for households with children tend to run between 3 and 4 percent higher than the overall population in terms of food scarcity.
So here’s a tip of our hat to the students at Bremen High School in Chicago’s south suburbs. Actions like theirs will help to ensure that the pandemic is nothing more than a blip in terms of hunger.
Worldwide, the economic catastrophe brought on by the pandemic has forced children to abandon their education and put themselves at increased risk for abuse, especially girls. They are often forced into a dilemma that makes them choose between an abandoned education and an abusive sexual relationship at an early age.
So while the virus itself may not be as harmful to kids as it is to older people with underlying medical conditions, the downstream effects in terms of malnutrition and abandonment of education might be just as harmful. We need more young people to rise up, like the students at Bremen.