100womenstrong grants $639,000 to 51 loudoun nonprofits in support of shelter, health, mental health, hunger, and education. Read more.

Working to Reduce the Stigma of Being Hungry

Children who are hungry during the school day have enough stress without fearing they will not receive lunch if they cannot pay for it or their parents have a debt with the cafeteria. Unfortunately, in many states, that is a real fear. In Colorado, a cafeteria worker was fired allegedly for feeding a first-grade student who didn’t have lunch money.  In Pennsylvania, a school worker quit after she said she had to take away hot meals from two students. Things are changing, however, in New Mexico, where a Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act recently became law. The Bill of Rights requires that all students have access to the same lunch, regardless of ability to pay. It was spearheaded by a legislator who wanted to end practices, such as throwing away lunches if a student can’t pay or requiring students to do chores to work off debt. This Bill of Rights was personal to him, because he grew up mopping cafeteria floors to earn his school lunch, as well as befriending cafeteria workers so he wouldn’t have to go hungry. Here in Loudoun County Schools, the number of students eligible for free or reduced lunch rose from 12,541 in 2013/2014 to 13,529 in 2016/2017. This is why programs like the Backpack Coalition, a 100WomenStrong long-term initiative, is important for our students. It helps support food insecure students by providing healthy weekend nutrition for them in a way that doesn’t stigmatize them. Read about the Bill of Rights here:http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/04/11/523312769/lawmakers-childhood-experience-drives-new-mexicos-lunch-shaming-ban





100WomenStrong is a proud fund of Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties