It’s something no child should ever have to say: ‘I’m starving.’ But that’s exactly what class of third-graders heard from a fellow student during a virtual learning session.
According to Patch.com, a teacher in Monmouth County was conducting online learning last December, when she was having a hard time getting one of her students to concentrate. She asked the child to sit still and pay attention, but that’s when the 8-year-old reportedly starting crying unconsolably. The little girl said it was because she was starving but there was no food to eat in her house.
That’s completely heartbreaking. Former New Jersey lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno got wind of the little girl’s confession, and she looked into the family’s situation.
Guadagno discovered the child’s mom, a restaurant worker, lost her job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and hasn’t been able to find work. The mother also reportedly doesn’t qualify for unemployment or benefits.
« Can you imagine the trauma this little girl was going through to burst into tears and say this in front of a whole class of her peers? », Guadagno told Patch.com.
The school/school district the child is part of was not available.
Guadagno, who now runs Fulfill, the primary food bank of Monmouth and Ocean counties, and her team were able to provide the family with an emergency food box of supplies, and is even working with the mom to get qualified to receive food stamps.
Food insecurity is an all-too-common problem in the Garden State, and a growing one as the pandemic continues. With most of New Jersey’s school-aged children still learning from home, they may be missing the food assistance and/or free meals they’d be getting if they were physically in school. And, many parents may not know that/if they’re school district is offering a meal pick-up service.
Guadagno told Patch.com; « The hardest part of all of this is asking for help. We are desperate to reach families such as this so we can get them the services they need, so they don’t get this far down the road in a crisis. »
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