An elementary school teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, named Marvin Callahan saw an injustice and decided to do something about it. He noticed a number of his students were coming to class hungry on a regular basis.
When he started the job 21 years ago, he said he had no idea how many families were struggling to feed their children or keep a roof over their heads. New Mexico has the highest rate of child hunger in the country, with nearly a third of children going to bed hungry, although the problem is widespread enough that three-quarters of the country’s teachers say students routinely show up to school hungry.
Armed with a purpose and compassion, Callahan called upon other members of his community for help. They made a list of the most underprivileged of his pupils, and began sending 37 of them home each Friday with backpacks stuffed with food.
Every Friday, each child takes home two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners -- all nutritional, all tasty, and all easily put together.
As Carolyn Gregoire of the Huffington Post reports, “Retired teachers come in on Thursdays to fill up the backpacks with food items like breakfast bars, oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, beefaroni and sliced turkey — things that the kids can easily put together themselves.”
He began the program two years ago out of his own pocket, although it now has donations from members of the community and local organizations.
“It’s hard for me to go home some weekends when the kids are saying, ‘I don’t want to go home because I don’t have anything at home,’” he told the Huffington Post. “I just hope that when I get home and open my refrigerator and there’s food in there, I hope that they have the same thing.”
And to think good people like Mr. Callahan and countless other teachers across the country are both underpaid and unappreciated.
Do your soul a solid: take a teacher to lunch tomorrow.