SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Over the past week, KOLR10 has been addressing the issue of childhood hunger here at home.
As a community, several agencies are working together to try to help solve the problem.
Ryan Dalton has a family of four– all who say they’re aware of the hunger issue in our community.
“We try to help as much as we can,” he said.
“I know in every class I’ve been in since kindergarten — since when they first started the back-pack program– there have been three to four people that use it and benefit from it a lot,” said his 14-year-old daughter Macenzie. “Its kind of sad to see how much people struggle with getting food because it shouldn’t be a problem in their world– but it is, so it makes me want to help out and everything.”
“It’s heartbreaking really,” said Ryan. “Seeing kids and parents struggling to find work.”
The Dalton family volunteers together at Ozarks Food Harvest. They help sort food for the back-pack program.
“I think it’s just nice to do because I know eventually it will benefit people,” said Macenzie. “Which is always nice.”
Some of those people are her own classmates.
“Our homeless population with students elementary age continues to grow,” said Springfield Public Schools Health Services Director Jean Graybeel. “So we know there is still a need out there– so we don’t want to depend on free and reduced lunch– we know there is still a need and it’s growing and it’s in every school.”
Springfield Public Schools increased the number of school sites where breakfast is provided in the classroom.
“if we can provide them with food– then absolutely it’s helping to remove that barrier,” said Graybeel.
And as the need grows, so does the community’s support.
“Really we are getting together as community partners to figure out what we can do together,” said Graybeel. “So it makes more of a significant impact.”