The fight against childhood hunger is going strong in Mercer County. Students don’t have to worry about keeping up with their lunch money or going home hungry. Becoming a teacher is a choice many make because they want to make a difference. Giving students a solid education is one way to do that but it’s hard to teach students who are struggling with empty bellies. A program, in Mercer County Schools, takes a bite out of that problem. The goal is to provide students with free breakfast and lunch. The program is called Community Eligibility Option. It ensures that children do not go home hungry.
Charles Thomas, a substitute teacher for five years, said he’s thankful for the program.
Thomas said, “There are some kids you know they must go home starving. They come to school starving. After school hours, you don’t know what’s going to happen so at least they’re going to eat when they’re at school. I think it’s a great program.”
With many families struggling to make ends meet, teachers feel it’s a program that needs to stay.
Special Education Teacher Michele Chahar said, “It started four years ago. I think the county is really blessed to have this program. Not many students pack their lunch anymore because they get the free lunch.”
One woman serving the food hopes this is just the beginning.
Head Cook Lisa Davis said, “We’re doing it and it may promote the rest of the schools to be interested in doing it to make sure all children are fed and they’ll learn better.”
The program is made possible by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.