School lunch can be one of the earlier places where kids start to notice that some kids have more and some have less. One in six kids in the U.S. lives with hunger. If your family is doing well enough to have a little extra flexibility, talking with your kids about ways they can help their classmates get a decent lunch could be a wonderful learning opportunity. Here are a few ideas.
Pack a little extra.
If your child knows of someone who never seems to have a lunch, talk about what would be easy for your child to share casually with their classmate. Maybe they can bring more dip and veggies than they’ll need, an extra piece or fruit, or a whole sandwich instead of half. Focus on allergy-friendly foods to make sure your child can safely share.
Invest in school lunch.
Free school lunch programs for hungry kids can often offer more nutritious food when not all of their participants are either getting free lunch of struggling to pay a subsidized portion. Help your child get involved in advocating for whatever your school could use: more paying students? A fund to cover kids who don’t have lunch money that day? Donations of fresh produce from local farmers or grocery stores?
Donate to charities.
Food banks need donations all year round. Work with your child to find out what your local food bank needs most and invite them to pick out some items on each shopping trip. Give your child a “charitable giving allowance” and help them choose an effective charity to send part of your charitable giving budget to.