Monday, October 12, 2015

31 Days: Day 12 - No School?

One of the things that I have thought about more since becoming an urban missionary is the simple fact that I have taken so much for granted in my life. I'm not sure why I was born into a family who had the resources to provide pretty much anything I ever wanted or needed. I am thankful, but completely recognize that was PRIVILEGE and I need to always be aware of that. Today, being Columbus Day, the kids were out of school. When I was a kid, I looked forward to ANY and EVERY chance to get a day out of school and also counted down the days till the summer when I could hang out with my friends and do more fun things. There is a completely different vibe here in the inner city. Most kids HATE being out of school for a day and especially the entire summer.

As a child, I knew that when I was out of school there would be food to eat and things to do. Never once, did I open up our pantry to discover there was nothing to eat and I certainly never missed a meal. Summer time meant trips out of town or movies and sleepovers.
I was shocked the first time a student complained about being out of school.  I assumed everyone loved a holiday break. I quickly learned the complaint was usually because of two things:

1. Boredom. Utter and complete boredom of being stuck at home. This was especially true of the students whose parents did not have transportation to take them anywhere.

2. Hunger. Most of our students are eligible for free lunch which means that they can get breakfast and lunch for free every school day. When school is canceled there are some kids who go without those meals. (Let me interject here that I will always say some and not all. I know it is not 100%). This was never on my radar.

How many of us can say that? And if you can't, then it is a great time to be thankful and aware.

I can't stand it if a kid is hungry and many times they will just go about their day expecting not to eat on those days. I never want a student to have to ask for food, so on days like today, we tote out the PB and J and all eat lunch together. I probably made 20+ sandwiches today. Now, I know that not every student who ate one did so because they didn't have anything to eat at home, but I don't want to single any student we all participate. We had sandwiches, chips, capri sun and a cutie orange. The thing that kids wanted more of was the fruit. Fresh fruits and veggies are a luxury, even for me and Glenn at times because they are not cheap.

The most consumed foods in the inner city are chips and juice because it is cheap. I have met babies who are conditioned to eat that over baby foods. Next time you make a side salad for dinner, or grab a piece of fresh fruit as a snack,  thank God for the blessing of being able to do so. Truly. Access to fresh foods is a luxury in our world.

** If you would like to start from the beginning of this blog series start here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm discovering this to be true as well. I mentor a 2nd grader. She attends a school that has a 98% poverty level. I eat lunch with her every week at school and we always share 2 things with each other: "the best part of our week" and "the worst part of our week". Recently she said the best part was being at school. It was a week with a Holiday. I was surprised by this and said, "You mean your days off weren't the best part?" She said, "No, school days are the best." The school has a backpack program where the kids go home on Thursday afternoon with a backpack of food for the weekend. I've really enjoyed your blog the last few weeks. I found you through 31dayswrite challenge.