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
Starting on March 5, and extending through April 5, 2018, we are raffling off this basket for a cause very close to our hearts. Most of us know that public schools in Oklahoma offer free lunch programs. But did you know that they stop after elementary school? That’s right!
Middle and high school students in Oklahoma no longer have access to free lunch. Instead, they are allowed to charge up to $8.40 at a time in the cafeteria. This is about three days of lunch. If they are unable to pay, they can no longer charge.
Generously, schools will provide cheese sandwiches and water to these kids. But this creates a serious problem of its own. It’s called “lunch shaming.” If you know anything about kids, you know they can be cruel.
If someone sits down with a cheese sandwich and water, 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.
But it’s not just the kids who do the shaming. In fact, in many places, it looks like this. A kid gets to the register with a tray of hot food, surrounded by his peers. The cafeteria employee informs him he owes too much money. Then they often actually take the tray away from the child. Then they hand him a brown paper bag with the “alternate lunch” inside. Shockingly, employees often toss the hot food into the trash once it reaches the kitchen!
This kind of “lunch shaming” is under fire in many state legislatures, but it still happens every day. Schools are under tremendous financial pressure. This policy is intended to “motivate” students to get their parents to pay. But the parents aren’t the ones being shamed, are they?
Students who receive this kind of treatment are often humiliated to the point that they decide it’s easier to just go hungry. And that’s an even bigger problem. 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!
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!