Miles is an elementary school student in Baltimore who qualifies for free lunch. He is a mediocre student at school, but his favorite subject is science. On the weekdays when school is in session, Miles is excited for the free lunches he receives in the cafeteria. He always looks forward to grabbing a chocolate milk carton and enjoying his meal with his friends. It is thanks to his fulfilling lunch that Miles has the energy to focus during class. Miles is able to run around with his friends during gym and able to sing with his classmates during chorus. But when Miles returns home after school, he has a hard time concentrating on his homework. His parents are working multiple part-time jobs in order to pay their bills. He rarely sees either of them at home and is instead taken care of by his elderly grandmother who is taking expensive medication for her chronic illness. His dinners at home usually consist of a can of baked beans and some bread. Miles’ most filling and nutritionally balanced meal of the day is his school lunch.
But on the weekends, Miles does not have class, and is subsequently unable to eat school lunch. However, his elementary school has a partnership with the Baltimore Hunger Project, a local non-profit that feeds children struggling with food insecurity. Volunteers bring bags of food to school guidance counselors. On Fridays, Miles’s guidance counselor discreetly slips a bag into his backpack. The bag is filled with nutritious snacks and fruit with a handwritten message inside from one of the volunteers. Sometimes, Miles even gets to bring home a cool book to read at home. Miles’ parents feel relief that their child is able to remain fed on the weekends. No child should have to struggle with food insecurity. Miles’s story is just one of the many untold stories in the classroom. Here at the Baltimore Hunger Project, we strive to stamp out childhood hunger.