Local school district addressing student hunger - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Local school district addressing student hunger

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The district has used a program that sends bags of food home with students on the weekends. The district has used a program that sends bags of food home with students on the weekends.
The bags are placed in the students' lockers every Friday. The bags are placed in the students' lockers every Friday.
Renee Sims has taught for nearly thirty years. Renee Sims has taught for nearly thirty years.
Sims said she has seen the role of a teacher expand to issues that go beyond the classroom. Sims said she has seen the role of a teacher expand to issues that go beyond the classroom.
The school district has worked on eliminating food insecurity for students and their families. The school district has worked on eliminating food insecurity for students and their families.
BUSHNELL, Ill. (WGEM) -

For many kids, meals are hard to come by when they are out of school, but the Bushnell-Prairie City School District has been working to change that.

Many students at Bushnell-Prairie City Elementary School have continued to deal with poverty and that has lead to some of them wondering where they will get their next meals.

"Right now, we're sitting at about 61% free and reduced lunch eligibility," Bushnell-Prairie City Elementary School Principal Margie Rhoades said. "When you consider that, that mean six out of every ten kids in our building qualifies for a free and reduced lunch."

To address the growing problem of childhood hunger, the district partnered with a local church in 2014, to send bags of food home with students on the weekend.

Junior High Teacher Carol Holland helped bring the program to the district. She mentioned the continued support the community has had for it.

"I think that this community just supports each other, because we just have a very caring community," Holland said.

Bob Douglas, the manager of Ludlum Foodmart, said his store decided to get involved with the backpack program because its a problem that he's seen taking place over the last twenty years.

"I'm really glad to see a program in town to help these children, at least through the weekends," Douglas said. 

First Grade Teacher Renee Sims has taught for almost thirty years and says the role of the teacher continues to expand well beyond the classroom.

"Being hungry, not sleeping, not having their appropriate school supplies, that plays a role in what our teacher role looks like," Sims said.

She also added that educators can't fully reach students, unless they are able to cut back on distractions like food insecurity.

"From my heart I know that if we don't provide our basic needs of the children, education doesn't matter to them," Sims said.

If you are in need of food assistance, Holland said you can contact the superintendent or principal.

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