For some of us, it might be hard to imagine that high school students can leave school knowing there's no meal waiting for them at home. But that's a reality in one area county, and now students are helping their own with a new food bank.
It all started with a discussion last year at Webster County High School, where students noticed that some of their peers were asking for seconds at lunch, something the school isn't allowed to give. But then students in the Health Occupation Students of America group decided to find out how much of a need there was, and what they could do.
"the survey asked questions of the kids, and it was completely anonymous of if they got an evening meal, if there was ever a time that they didn't have food in their home, if they usually ate three meals a day, and if they remembered a time going to sleep hungry," said WCHS Assistant Principal Connie Robinson.
The results surprised even the staff, with a significant number of students saying three hot meals wasn't a given in their home. And now, students are trying to do what they can. WCHS students can leave a private request with teachers, and other students will fill a backpack with food for each request, without knowing who they're for. They said that makes students less afraid to ask for help.
"We knew at the beginning that kids were hungry. They wouldn't just come out and say, 'hey I don't get a hot meal in the evenings' or 'I don't get a hot meal at all.' We knew that we needed to address it, but we didn't want to just come up to the kids and say 'do you need food?'" said student volunteer Katie Wilder.
Each day, about five backpacks get sent home with students with enough ready-to-eat food for a day or two. Robinson says weekends tend to be busier, with up to seven or eight students requesting help. And the students who help their peers fend off hunger said it's the least they can do.
"I just think it's good for them. They deserve to have a meal in the evening. Not everybody gets that," said WCHS student Christina Harvey.