kid holding lunch tray
Tim Lauer / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Children who experience hunger may lag developmentally behind their peers starting as early as kindergarten. That's according to a new study published in the journal Child Development.

Study authors suggest that dealing with hunger in the first five years of life can hurt school performance not only in kindergarten, but for years to come.

school bus covered in snow
ThoseGuys119 / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Most of us here in Michigan started our week digging out from the first widespread snowstorm of the season. And many kids across the state enjoyed their first snow day of the school year.

For some families, a snow day means an extra day of rest. But unexpected days off aren't always a cause for celebration for low-income families, whose resources are already stretched. 

A pea on a plate. With a fork and knife.
Steven Tyrie / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The National School Lunch Program helps keep low-income kids from going hungry while they're in school. Over 21 million K-12 students in the U.S. received free and reduced-priced school lunches during the 2014-2015 school year.

But what happens to these same kids when they go off to college?

A recent study found nearly half of college students across the country are food insecure. That means they struggle just to get enough affordable, nutritious food.

Parker Knight / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Child hunger is a problem that is widespread across the country. About 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. live in "food insecure" households, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

School is back in session.

That means millions of kids nationwide – about 500,000 in Michigan – who rely on free and reduced-priced school meals are once again receiving them.

Those meals make a huge difference for the millions of families that struggle with hunger at home.

But here's some good news.

School Lunch
DC Central Kitchen / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Hi, State of Opportunity fans. This is going to be a pretty quick blog post, since I just want to revisit something I talked about a while back.

It's that time of year again. Children across the country are gearing up for summer break.

Four ways cities across the U.S. are fighting hunger

May 16, 2016
Girl eating peach
Bruce Tuten / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

How close do you live to the nearest grocery store? I live within ten minutes of at least three chain grocery stores: Kroger, Meijer and Walmart. But places to buy quality, affordable food are not easily accessed by everyone.

Michigan leads nation in fighting hunger on campus

Aug 31, 2015
Photo courtesy of Nate Smith-Tyge

Regular State of Opportunity readers and listeners can probably rattle off a list of different barriers low-income, first-generation, and/or homeless college students face on campus. One that often goes unnoticed and forgotten is something too many college students face on a daily basis: hunger.

flickr user r_gnuce

Turkey. Mashed Potatoes. Stuffing. Pie. 

It's just about all I can think about right now. 

Thanksgiving is a special day, but the truth is, I'm extremely lucky. I could stuff my face any day I want. If I'm hungry, I go to the grocery store and buy something to eat.

That's how it is for most of us in America, but not all of us. 

This week, we'll be talking a lot about hunger on this blog. I think a lot of us ignore the hunger issue because we think that it's basically taken care of. If you can't afford food, you can get help from the government, right?

Yes. But that's not the full story. 

"There are good days and bad days." 

That's how 12-year old Tyler Smith describes his life in Iowa, where he says he and his sister often go hungry because their mom doesn't make enough money to provide three meals a day for the family. "Sometimes when I switch the [TV] channel and there's a cooking show on," says Smith, "I get a little more hungry. I want to vanish into the screen and start eating the food."

Smith is one of six children featured in FRONTLINE's new documentary, Poor Kids. The film follows three families who live along the boarder of Iowa and Illinois, an area hit hard by the recession. The documentary airs on PBS next Tuesday, Nov. 21, but you can watch a sneak preview of the film in the video below. You can also listen to the panel discussion that follows, which features the film's director and poverty experts:

Video streaming by Ustream