John Still K-8 School, home of the Tigers, serves Meadowview, a picturesque name for a Sacramento, Calif., neighborhood blanketed in concrete and bare of trees.
There are 970 students on John Still's campus, and every one of them qualifies for the free and reduced meal program, which provides breakfast, lunch and a supper snack.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8.6 million children experienced food insecurity in 2013. When food gaps become chronic in these households, poor nutrition and stress can turn into long-term health consequences for adults and children.
More schools are stepping up to help these families. Feeding America, a network of U.S. food banks, says its School Pantry Program served more than 21 million meals to nearly 110,000 children nationwide in 2013 through a variety of models — including boxed meals, and sites where families choose items for their meals.
Amaya Weiss, the learning support specialist at John Still, runs the Youth and Family Resource Center, which houses a food pantry for students and their families.