A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and environments for students. One of the basic requirements for the school is to respond to the individual needs of students and families with support strategies and model effective practices to promote a healthy environment. They are also often seen as a trusted connection within the community, which enables them to address and evaluate concerning issues for possible alterations. As food security declines, they are increasingly becoming a resource center for addressing food insecurity due to the common public concern. Leveraging schools to improve access to food is an example of improving the health and well-being of children and people who support them.
Food security aims at providing a sufficient amount of nutrients and safe food for every individual to support an active and healthy lifestyle. It is undoubtedly clear that having access to nutrient-rich foods plays a paramount role in our lives.
Students facing food insecurity is another issue, which has a deteriorating effect on the well-being of hundreds of students on a global scale. As a fall 2019 survey of nearly 167,000 students nationwide has enumerated, 39% of students at two or four-year schools had experienced food insecurity in the last 30 days. These students are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, feel separated by the stigma associated with their lack of food. Therefore, they may have deficits in specific nutrients, which lead to general decreased cognitive performance, memory, visual processing, and low attention span.
Multiple complex factors like the rising cost of tuition, inconsistent access to enough food, and financial problems in general, resulted in horrific consequences for health. Due to the vast prevalence of this issue, educational institutions are highly encouraged to contribute to reducing food insecurity and preventing student hunger by taking actions and embedding new programs that are already actively practiced in many worldwide Universities:
– Food pantries with low-cost and nourishing food options; food served at school should be full of necessary nutrients and meet all sanitary standards.
– Meal donation system; allow charitable individuals to donate funds online to students in need.
– Programs with scholarships to those in need.
– Moreover, working with other schools and addressing food insecurity at the state level is a decisive step in solving the vulnerable question.