During my first year teaching I learned as much as my first graders. I was blessed with more than a handful of wonderful, loving and bright children. One such child was a little boy named Devonte (name changed). One Monday morning Devonte was not his normal self. He didn’t misbehave but he was grouchy and sluggish. He arrived late to school, which was not normal either. So, I asked him how his morning had been. He put his arm around me, leaned on my rocking chair and said “I’m hungry.” I responded, “Did you miss breakfast?” and he replied, “No.” I looked at him and I began to realize a more serious issue. After a few seconds I asked, “When was the last time you ate?” His reply broke me and it still does. He replied, “Friday.” It had been days since my precious child had anything to eat.
Devonte did not have the usual signs of hunger and the signs he did have, he hid incredibly well. Devonte’s life had already been plagued with misfortune and tragedy, which I’m sure lent to his ability to camouflage. Immediately, I gave him some granola bars from inside my desk and he ravaged them. The backpack program in our area had a waiting list which I found even more disturbing. That Friday I packed Devonte a bag of appropriate food. We quietly had a discussion about it and I put it inside his backpack while the students were at specials (gym, art, music, etc.). The following Monday he came to the room, gave me a large hug (per usual) and asked “Guess what?” “What?” I said and he came back with “I’m not hungry!” That Friday he kissed my hand and said “thank you for the food” and I thanked him for being my student.
Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee is an amazing organization. $1.00 feeds four people while 96 cents from every $1.00 donated goes directly to their programs that serve 46 of Middle and West Tennessee counties. One of their many programs includes the Backpack Program which is dear to my heart.
September has been Hunger Action Month. It is very likely that this tidbit was unknown to you, just like the pain and worry of hunger. You can easily donate at their site (here), or you can try their new Virtual Food Drive (here.) During the Virtual Food Drive you are able to purchase non-perishable foods that are a part of Emergency Boxes.
I am very blessed. I have never needed anything. I am well taken care of. Therefore, if you were planning on getting me a gift for my birthday please donate instead.
Be good. Be safe. Be lovely.