Introduction

The issues of hunger and poverty are closely linked. Because poverty causes hunger, almost all people living in poverty face hunger. Millions of people across the globe suffer from hunger because they cannot afford to buy or grow their own food. The majority of people suffering from hunger live in the developing world, but approximately 35 million people in the United States also suffer from hunger. Many national and international organizations are working towards ending poverty and therefore hunger by improving access to jobs, implementing economic growth policies and agricultural programs, providing all people with access to education, health care, food and water, and sanitation, and more. Teaching students about hunger and poverty is important because it will give them the opportunity to get involved in combating these two widespread issues in the present and future!

Resources

There are many resources available online for teaching students about hunger and poverty. Hunger and poverty are two of the most widespread problems across the globe and by using these lesson plans, articles, and informational sites to teach them about the topics, students will hopefully be encouraged to contribute to the efforts to reduce and eventually eradicate them!

Lesson Plans

  1. 7 Great Lessons to Teach Kids About Hunger and Food Insecurity: Kid World Citizen provides seven great lessons for educators to use to teach their students about hunger and food insecurity. Students may look at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO)’s Map of World Hunger, play the World Food Programme’s “Food Force,” read Church World Services’ (CWS) “Hungry Decisions” story, and more.
  2. Fighting Hunger: Teaching Tolerance offers a lesson on fighting hunger which encourages students to investigate domestic hunger across the nation and in their local communities. In addition, resources are provided to support students in the fight against hunger. The lesson includes objectives, materials, directions for the main activity, suggested online resources for student research, and an extension activity. 
  3. “Why in Five” – To End Hunger and Poverty: New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has put together a resource that both offers information on ending hunger and poverty and classroom resources for educators to utilize. This resource explains how big of a problem poverty is in education, what the solution is, what community schools are, what the benefits of community schools are, and how students and educators can help. Classroom resources for elementary, middle, and high school students are also available!
  4. Teaching Hunger Across The Curriculum Through Molly’s Eyes: World Food Programme (WFP) provides a lesson that teaches students about hunger through a story about a young girl named Molly who lives in Kenya, one of the poorest places on earth. Through this lesson, students will learn how access to food can unlock the potential of students across the globe and understand how they can be a part of a world without hunger.
  5. Hungry to Help: Scholastic provides teacher materials for their Hungry to Help lesson for students in grades 1-3. With this lesson, students will learn to build empathy for people who are struggling with hunger and will make an action plan to fight hunger in their communities.

Articles

  1. Teaching Children About Hunger: Feeding America has published a brief post on their blog about teaching children about hunger. In this article, Mary Hyland and Lisa Kennedy, who are two second-grade teachers, describe their great experience with the Hungry to Help lesson plan. For educators who are considering bringing this lesson to their classrooms, this piece will be very helpful!
  2. Teach Children About Hunger and Poverty: PTO Today provides a brief article on how to teach children about hunger and poverty. The article recommends and explains how educators can devote a day to hunger, invite speakers from local hunger organizations, do a hunger simulation, show kids how they can help, visit a food bank, and more. 
  3. Why Hunger Can Grow Even When Poverty Doesn’t: The New York Times has published an article on why hunger can grow even when poverty doesn’t. The article explains how the two issues are linked, but the relationship between the two is not always simple, especially now during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, a guide to understanding hunger and poverty is provided, which discusses how poverty is measured annually but people eat daily, most people who are food insecure are not poor, and more.

Informational Sites

  1. The Hunger Project: The Hunger Project provides an abundance of information and resources for those who want to learn more about hunger and how they can make an impact. By taking a look through this website, students will learn about the complex issues of hunger and poverty!
  1. Hunger and Poverty: These resources from the Hunger Project specifically offer brief overviews of the issues of hunger and poverty and explanations of what the Hunger Project does to combat both. In addition, related news to hunger and poverty is included.
  1. Global Poverty and Hunger: Action Against Hunger offers information on global poverty and hunger, specifically how global poverty relates to hunger and how we can take action to save lives. This article describes how poverty leads to hunger, facts about global poverty, where extreme poverty is, children living in extreme poverty, and solutions to poverty and hunger.
  2. Hunger & Poverty in America: The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) offers a few resources on hunger and poverty in America. These include quick facts about hunger, FRAC’s transition recommendations for the incoming Biden administration to address hunger in America, FRAC and National Immigration Law Center’s report, FRAC’s latest report on how America’s Hunger Crisis has deepened with Covid-19, food insecurity maps and tables, and quick facts on poverty.
  3. Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children and Youth: The American Psychological Association (APA) has put together information and additional resources on the effects of poverty, hunger, and homelessness on children and youth.

Conclusion

Teaching about hunger and poverty is a very important task. The one thing that educators should remember when teaching about these sensitive topics is that some of their students may be struggling with hunger. Therefore, educators should be sure to adjust lessons and activities as they see fit in order to guarantee that they maintain sensitivity to all of their students! Educators should also ensure that students understand how hunger affects learning and school performance!

Additional Resources

  1. 11 Facts About World Hunger: DoSomething.org offers eleven facts about world hunger that will help students better understand the scale of this issue.
  2. Facts About Poverty and Hunger in America: Feeding America provides a few facts about poverty and hunger in America. 
  3. The New Face of Hunger: National Geographic provides an article on the new face of hunger, specifically addressing why people are malnourished in the richest country on Earth. 
  4. How Do We Talk About Poverty in Schools?: edutopia has published an article on how to talk about poverty in schools. The article explains how poverty is defined, what is meant by poverty in the context of schools, and how we should talk about poverty in schools.