Kids Meal Program Celebrates 15 Years of Feeding Kids
This past February, the Kids Meal Program at Holy Cross Parish in Chicago’s Back of the Yards community celebrated 15 years of feeding the neighborhood’s young people a healthy third meal in a safe, supportive environment. Housed in the Casa Romero building, the Kids Meal Program makes sure no child goes to bed hungry.
Being food insecure—or not regularly having enough nutritious food to eat—can have devastating effects on a young person. Poor nutrition decreases a student’s ability to succeed in the classroom, further widening the education achievement gap. In addition to suffering from a range of side-effects such as dizziness and fatigue, students with inadequate nutrition are also more susceptible to frequent illnesses. This reality adds chronic absenteeism and tardiness to the students’ load of academic challenges.
While the biological effects of malnutrition and food insecurity are extremely damaging, the condition’s less obvious psychological and social consequences are equally detrimental to a student’s academic performance, especially in a community like Back of the Yards. Undernourished children are more likely to have lower test scores and a higher incidence of counseling and enrollment in special education classes. These students are also more likely to have repeated a grade in school. The Kids Meal Program helps fight back against food insecurity.
Despite the crucial importance of this program and the very real need it addresses, the Kids Meal Program’s future is far from secure. Government budget cuts and delays have seriously endangered Holy Cross’ ability to continue feeding the young people who need it most. Please consider making a donation directly to the Kids Meal Program today; 95% of your gift will go directly to the program to help purchase and prepare nutritious food for children.