Maybe you’ve already noticed this beautiful basket in our gift shop. If not, you need to come in and check it out! Not just because it’s valued at over $900.00. And not just because you could be lucky enough to win it. There’s actually a much better reason!
The Free Lunch Gap
Most of us know that Public Schools in Oklahoma offer free or low cost breakfast and lunch programs to elementary students, but did you know in middle and high school the families need to fill out extensive paperwork and the program is greatly underutilized leaving many students without lunch?
These kids come from homes that either don’t know about the programs, don’t understand how to fill out the proper papers for the programs, or don’t want to be part of the program. These students are able to charge up to $8.40 for lunches, (the average lunch is $2.40, about 3 days worth of lunches) but after that, they can no longer charge and they are given a different lunch from other students with the ability to pay.
Generously, schools will provide a lunch to these kids, but it is a different lunch than what is being served. This creates a serious problem of it’s own. It’s called “lunch shaming”. Kids can be cruel when they see another student sit down with a lunch that is different from the lunches that can be purchased. If a student sits down with the “different lunch”, all the other kids know why. These students are now branded as those who not only can’t afford a $2.80 lunch, but who also owe the school money. Students who receive the “different lunch” are often humiliated to the point that they decide it’s easier to just go hungry. That’s an even bigger problem and we say this is unacceptable.
Hunger and Education Don’t Mix
According to the American Youth Policy Forum, student hunger poses a huge risk in education.
In addition to the cognitive, emotional, mental, and physical consequences of food insecurity and poor nutrition, a wide body of research indicates that these consequences follow children into the classroom, often resulting in poor academic performance.
- Children from homes with persistent food insecurity have shown smaller gains in both reading and math than their food-secure counterparts.
- Food-insecure children and teenagers have been shown to miss school more frequently, and are more likely to repeat a grade than food-secure children.
- Food insecurity has been shown to reduce a child’s chances of graduating from high school.
- Growing up food-insecure has consequences even beyond K-12 education. Research shows that workers who experienced hunger* as children “are not as well prepared physically, mentally, emotionally or socially to perform effectively in the contemporary workforce.”
Lunches of Love Fundraiser
Tulsa area schools often have school lunch deficits of over $100,00.00 per year. That could pay for a couple of teachers! At Bella Vita, we want to help end this problem in our city. We may not end it on our own, but we think that with the help of our amazing clients, we can make a difference!
Here’s how we’ve decided to help. We have put together this amazing gift basket, valued at over $900.00. We’ve included a Bella Donna Spa Package and lots of our favorite spa and salon products.
On April 5, we will draw one name from the raffle basket. That person will receive the lovely gift basket! Then, as a bonus, they’ll get to name the Tulsa area public middle or high school that will receive the donations!
How You Can Help
1. Share about this project on social media. Use the links at the bottom of this post to share to your favorite Social Media platform.
2. Talk to your friends about the issue and encourage them to purchase raffle tickets or donate.
3. Donate at Bella Vita or by phone with a credit card.
4. Purchase raffle tickets! You’ll feel great knowing you’re helping pay for student lunches in the Tulsa area and helping put a stop to “lunch shaming.” And as a bonus, you could win this wonderful gift basket!
5. Once this Lunches of Love Basket is raffled, you ALWAYS have the opportunity to go to ANY Middle School or High School and make a donation to the unpaid lunches of students.
Giveaway On April 5th!
We know we have the most amazing clients in America, and we know you care about these kids as much as we do. Thank you in advance for helping us reach out and show them our love. We look forward to giving away this beautiful gift basket to a lucky winner on April 5th! But more than that, we look forward to giving your gifts and donations to our Tulsa area students in need!