More than 34 million people, including 9 million children are suffering from hunger, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
This problem with food insecurity worsened when the coronavirus pandemic hit, impacting families with children and communities of color who were already impoverished prior to this global health crisis.
Rural areas and communities of Native Americans, Latinos, and African-Americans are the worst hit due to their lack of qualifications for federal nutrition programs and systemic racial prejudices.
Children are the most vulnerable sector amid this problem of food insecurity, with the following effects which may be irreversible:
- Malnutrition. Lack of nutrients to support healthy growth.
- Impaired physical and intellectual development. Lack of micronutrients can result in developmental delays, mental disorders, and long-term disability.
- Poor immune system. The risk of acquiring diseases is heightened.
- Bleak future. Children who are often hungry perform poorly in school, which makes them less prepared for future challenges.
- Deepening poverty. Due to susceptibility to illnesses, money is spent more on medicine and other medical needs than on food and decent housing.
This is why many online commenters expressed great appreciation for Sarah Stusek of Virginia, who settled overdue lunch accounts on behalf of kids in need in their state. She made a total payment of $1659.70 to Mount Vernon Community School in Alexandria, Virginia — a deed inspired by a Twitter post.
“I saw a Twitter thread where someone paid off a stranger’s electricity bill as their power was about to be shut off. Within this thread, I saw a comment saying another great way to pay it forward is to give money to pay off overdue school lunch accounts,” Stusek told Newsweek.
“If it wasn’t for social media, I would never have seen that, and I would never have known,” continued Stusek. She also said that she filmed herself while making the payment so that other people could learn how to do it and help fight child hunger. The footage was uploaded on Tiktok, garnering 1.9 million views.
Here are some reactions from Tiktok users:
PRIVATE00112233 commented, “$1,000 is overdue lunches means god knows how many kiddos aren’t permitted to eat a lunch daily 😞🥺”
WestLoopStrangler wrote, “As someone who sat in the bathroom during lunch for like 9 years bc I didn’t have food or $, I’m sobbing. Thank you.”
Amb0 likewise remarked, “The nervousness on the phone despite being a literal angel sent from heaven is the most millennial thing I’ve seen today.”
Meanwhile, crystalH also expressed, “There should be NO reason children should have to pay for breakfast or lunch at school. For some, it is their only meal. You are wonderful!!!”
And this was a loving message from Melinda June as well: “I’m a kindergarten teacher, and I’m sobbing…thank you. From the bottom of my heart and everything that I am…thank you ❤️”
trying to spread as much love as we can this year!!! If u can afford to send an extra dollar to my venmo @sarashooots we dont ever have to stop🥰