Childhood hunger in Wyoming is a problem that can be solved.
Wyoming Hunger Initiative launches in October 2019
Wyoming Hunger Initiative has a simple mission:
to end childhood hunger in Wyoming.
We believe childhood hunger in Wyoming is a problem that can be solved. We work to prevent food
insecurity by increasing awareness and support for the work of local anti-hunger organizations statewide
and by advocating for a future where no child faces the school day on an empty stomach.
Nourished kids, healthy families, and thriving communities: that's the goal of Wyoming Hunger Initiative.
In order to solve a problem, it's important to understand the problem.
About 71,000 Wyoming residents face food insecurity each year. Food insecurity means not being able to provide healthy, nutritious food, not having enough to eat, or skipping meals to make ends meet. It can happen occasionally or frequently.
36.42% of Wyoming schoolchildren qualify for free or reduced lunch, yet only 32% of those eligible children who need school breakfast are getting it. It is 100% possible to close the "breakfast gap" and in doing so, help students of all grades focus and achieve.
Scientists with the National Cancer Institute and the University of Calgary found that children who went hungry at least once in their lives were 2.5 times more likely to have poor overall health 10-15 years later compared with those who never had to go without food.
Throughout Wyoming, the proportion of students graduating who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch has been at least 11 percentage points lower than the total graduation rate every year since at least 2010.
Summer is even more difficult for children struggling with food insecurity, with summer meal sites throughout the state serving only 18% of the meals that kids need.
Food insecurity disproportionately affects low income residents; 13% of Wyoming children under the age of 18 fell below the poverty line in 2017.
Walk into any grocery store in Wyoming and it's hard to imagine how anyone might not have enough to eat, but that's the irony of hunger in America: it isn't that there isn't enough food to eat, but that families and children aren't always able to access that food. Kids who don’t have reliable access to food are much more likely to face unhealthy, unsuccessful, and uncertain futures. Wyoming Hunger Initiative seeks to shed light on the reality of childhood hunger and food insecurity in our state so it doesn't go unnoticed.
"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
Wyoming Hunger Initiative wants you to join the fight.
There are grassroots efforts in every single Wyoming county dedicated to reducing childhood hunger and combating food insecurity. Wyoming Hunger Initiative has created a comprehensive list of organizations—from food pantries to food rescues, "backpack" programs to local soup kitchens—that are making a difference in the lives of our neighbors every single day.
Wyoming Hunger Initiative will highlight the work of these organizations and strive to provide much-needed financial support from individuals, corporate sponsors, and community-wide fundraising.
What can you do? You can get involved, too. Volunteer. Spread the word. Give generously. Childhood hunger is a problem that can be solved, together.
Packing weekend food bags at Friday Food Bag Foundation, Cheyenne
Wyoming Hunger Initiative wants all children to start the
school day focused on school, not on an empty stomach.
Breakfast is exciting business when you're a kid.
Wyoming Hunger Initiative has teamed up with No Kid Hungry to help implement "Breakfast After the Bell" in school districts across Wyoming, which is proven to have a powerful effect on children for three reasons:
Kids can stay focused. Hungry kids have the food they need to excel in class. Studies show that grades and attendance rise when breakfast is served during the school day.
No one is singled out. When everyone eats together, it creates a feeling of community in the classroom, and kids who need that morning meal no longer feel singled out as the "poor kids."
It's easier. Getting to school extra early is a challenge for working families. Making breakfast part of the regular school day solves that problem.
No Kid Hungry,
Wyoming Hunger Initiative will help facilitate and encourage Breakfast After the Bell by making grant money available for logistics, issuing Breakfast Challenges throughout Wyoming, and highlighting best practices and innovative thinking within our schools.
It's easier than you think to bring breakfast to the classroom. Wyoming Hunger Initiative can help.