Food For Thought - 3rd Place Winner in the Purple Tote Bag Story Contest
Many common phrases link food and thought: “thirst for knowledge,” “use your noodle,” “brain candy,” “meaty discussions.” After all, we think best when we have something to chew on. Nourishment is how we thrive.
Recently a related but more negative term has seeped into our vocabulary: food insecurity. It describes more than 15 million kids in the U.S. whose only steady meal comes from their school cafeteria. This lack of food can lead to lower academic achievement, anxiety, and chronic health problems. Without food, these students simply have no chance to think.
A few weeks ago, 38 FedEx volunteers in Greater Atlanta learned firsthand from Blessings in a Backpack how to help alleviate the problem. Volunteers turned a FedEx Express sort location into a temporary food pantry, staging boxes of cereal, soup and healthy snacks in long rows. Together, we filled enough “backpacks” assembly-line style to feed 100 children for ten weekends. We also learned that efforts like these achieve real results: 59 percent of Blessings’ students found it easier to learn at school, 60 percent were less likely to get in trouble, and 78 percent felt cared for by their community.
A few hours later, a FedEx Cares special delivery van arrived at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club – one of the many distribution points coordinated by Blessings. FedEx volunteers unloaded the backpacks along with 262 Purple Tote Bags filled with donated school supplies. We hoped students in our neighborhood could now start the school year off with a smile instead of an empty stomach, and have the chance to be their best selves.