BOSTON (CBS) – Often schools are on the front line of social issues impacting families, because those issues can affect how children learn. At Edison K-8 in Brighton, 40 children who struggle with food insecurity receive Boost Bags every Friday to help their families get through the weekend.
More than 3,000 children in the Boston Public Schools are dealing with homelessness. Every school gets a certain amount of money to support the students and their families.
“Fridays aren’t easy days – we see the anxiety start to build in students as we’re approaching dismissal, and so when we can walk down the hall and we can give them a Boost Bag and see that anxiety come down and see a smile cross their face and know ‘I have a little extra food in my house this weekend,’ ” Principal Sam Varano said.
All of the children in Boston Public Schools eat breakfast and lunch at school. Last spring, when Mayor Marty Walsh and Superintendent Tommy Chang announced “Homeless Initiative Funding” as extra help for families, Principal Varano wanted to be creative and practical.
“For me it was a no-brainer, I immediately thought about food. We as educators see on a day to day basis when we see our kids, you know, they rush to breakfast because it may be their first meal of their day. You see it when you hand a child a bag and their face lights up,” Principal Varano said.
Kindergarten teacher, Jen Amendola, organizes the Boost Bag effort and sees first hand how hunger affects the kids in the classroom.
“It’s my favorite part of Friday to be honest, I absolutely love it. For me, it’s been really heartwarming,” Amendola said.
One million dollars has been set aside for the Homeless Education Resource Network. The group also works with the Pedroia Foundation.