Teacher Sends Hungry Students Home Every Weekend With Backpacks Full Of Food

October 7, 2014

Marvin Callahan grew up in poverty but has always had food on the table, even if it wasn't much.

As a first grade teacher, he has witnessed too many kids coming to school hungry and started a community program that sends backpacks full of food home with students in need.

hero teachers
Credit: NBC News

When Callahan started teaching in the New Mexico public school system 21 years ago, he said he had no idea how many families were struggling to feed their children on a daily basis.

"I look into my kids' eyes, and I can see that sadness and apprehension, and the discomfort of not being their powerful, strong, engaging little selves," he told the Huffington Post. "Kids are boundless, but the ones who aren't being taken care of properly with proper nutrition and rest... you can tell."

Every morning, he asks his first-grade students if they've eaten breakfast. If not, he sends them to the cafeteria for a meal paid for with his own money.

teacher feeds students own money
Credit: NBC News

The "backpack program" is a group effort with members of the community to send students home with backpacks full of food every Friday: two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners. Many retired teachers stop by on Thursdays to help fill the backpacks.

For Callahan, the most rewarding part about the program is bringing the community together to help children thrive.

"You have to think of them as human beings... The loving, sweet, adorable first-graders in my classroom," he says. "I wish I could take them all home, but I can't. I just hope that when I get home and open my refrigerator and there's food in there, I hope that they have the same thing."

With the success of the program, he hopes to provide more resources to under-privileged kids in the future, such as winter clothing.

(H/T) Huffington Post

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