The Problem: Hungry Children
Prospect Hill Academy (PHA) is one of the top performing schools in Massachusetts and the US. 95% of PHA graduates go on to 4-year colleges. At the same time, 71% of the students at the Early Childhood Campus qualify for free or reduced school lunch. Many students arrive at school hungry, too late to receive the free school cafeteria breakfast, and often without a snack.
The Impact: Hunger Affects Learning
The school nurse sees 500 visitors per year with complaints of head or stomach aches that are resolved by food. Schools that have implemented programs to address hunger report better attendance, better on-task behavior, increased self-esteem, and improved academic achievement in math and literacy.
What We Can Do: Additional Food
We can create a sustainable supplementary food program that distributes nutritious food to students in need. We can work with community partners to remove barriers, help students understand the full farm to table cycle of food, and encourage healthy approaches to nutrition and exercise.
Since last year, through a partnership with Food for Free we’ve been receiving two cases of fresh produce per week that is made available for students to snack on throughout the day. Through contributions from parents and friends in the community we’ve been trying to keep the nurse’s office supplied with shelf-safe breakfast and snack items to feed her hungry visitors. And, recently MIT’s Community Service Fund came through with a generous grant to help us increase our impact and establish sustainable practices.
Now we need to scale up our efforts. Most importantly we need to develop and nurture a community of like-minded souls willing and able to help. We need volunteers to help with food acquisition, delivery, repackaging and redistribution. We need people who may not be able to donate time, but can donate money in an on-going way. Even small amounts can have a big impact especially if sustained over time. See our fundraising site for more info.
Please join our community of people who care about eliminating hunger at PHA!