Hunger and Children

What Children in Hilliard Say About Hunger

empty plate1 in 4 children in the Hilliard City School District are living in poverty.

We asked children what they wanted grown ups to know about childhood hunger.

Here are just a few of the children’s responses:

How many meals a day do you eat?

▪   2 on the weekends

▪   No lunch when mom is gone

Have you ever had a day when you were hungry, but there was little or no food to eat?

▪   Yes

▪   Yes, a lot

▪   No food for 2 weeks, just cheese puffs

▪   Mom didn’t have a paycheck for 2 weeks

▪   Yes because dad gets paid on Thursday, so we have to wait till then to buy food

▪   Yesterday, Grandma said no to food

▪   Yes, but don’t want to cook it

▪   Nothing to eat

How does it make you feel if there is not a lot of food around the house to eat?

Angry, sad, empty, bad, depressed, mad, hungry, go to McDonald’s, worried about mom and sister, doesn’t really affect you, when there’s no food, you don’t get as hungry, not an issue for some, bad because sometimes there’s nothing I want, it’s okay because you can get the right portions, McDonald’s does not fill you up.

How does it make your body feel when you don’t have enough food in your stomach?

Empty, it hurts your stomach, can’t study, makes you hyper, your tummy growls and hurts, you get grumpy, you get headaches, a little sick, nauseated, could eat a table, miserable, starved, no energy, lazy, sleepy, tired and belly growls and belly really hurts.

If you were standing in front of a group of people that wanted to know what it’s like to be hungry, what would you tell them?

▪   People that are hungry feel sad and empty.

▪   Food drives, and send people food.

▪   Please donate food.

▪   I am going to think about that (the question), and tell my mom about the food pantry.

▪   Grumpy, headaches, stomach hurts, dizzy, tired, cramps, don’t feel like doing anything, empty, sick.

▪   Your stomach hurts and grumbles and then you feel “eek” then you tell your mom you’re hungry.

▪   My stomach hurts and it feels like you’re sick, but you’re just hungry and grumpy.  Sometimes I feel when my brothers are babysitting me, they don’t want me to get something to eat.

▪   I could eat a horse

▪   I could eat a hippo

▪   My favorite subject is lunch

▪   I’m starved and it makes me feel sad

▪   Frustrating, tired, feel there’s nothing in stomach

▪   Mad, ignore the topic/idea

▪   “Two weeks this summer I had no food to eat.  I am thankful for the lunch program.”

▪   “I’m so glad I come here because at home I always get really bad headaches because I don’t have food to eat, and now I don’t get many headaches.”

The Hilliard School District has seen a number of children receiving free/reduced school lunch rise from 2,158 in 2006-7 to 3,793 in 2015-16. Aligned with SON Ministries’ vision that NO child should experience the hopelessness of hunger, the Hilliard Free Lunch Summer Camp for Kids program was created in 2007 to provide a free lunch to children all summer who received one during the school year. Each year, the numbers have grown. In ten summers, SON Ministries has served 83,844 meals to Hilliard children in poverty, the Hilltop, Dublin and Lewis Center!  SON’s efforts have expanded to other communities. As part of community building, SON Ministries has been sought out and has trained fourteen other organizations around Ohio how to run free summer lunch programs. We also teach about poverty in the suburbs by the way of speeches, newspaper, radio, and television news stories.

SON Ministries is more than free lunch; both staff and 100’s of volunteers have built healthy, respect-based relationships with over 400 families in need in the Hilliard area. Families attending the Free Lunch program began sharing their difficulty in helping with homework. A Kid’s Club, after-school tutoring and homework program was created and provides support during the school year.  Kid’s club joined with an adult English class fall 2009. We have evolved as the “connector” in the Hilliard area and partner with community leaders by providing programs, addressing needs, and connecting people who want help, with those who need help. Through SON’s efforts, families have been connected with food, local resources, academic support, early literacy, job skills, preschool, English classes, and most importantly to HOPE and to the neighbors in THEIR community.