Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the country, but there are a staggering number of children who go hungry on a regular basis.
In fact, some 96,893 children in Connecticut, or 12.1 percent of all kids in the state, are living in poverty, according to the CT No Kid Hungry Campaign.
Here in Naugatuck, the public school system is trying to do something about it. Last month, the schools collected thousands of non-perishable food items for the Naugatuck Ecumenical Food Bank.
September was No Kid Hungry Month, which the school district viewed as an opportunity to be a part of a movement that has a real and lasting impact on the mission to end hunger in America.
Students and staff wore orange, the color of the movement, and were encouraged to spread the word about hunger awareness. They also wore orange clothes, tied orange ribbons on trees and decorated their classrooms orange.
Kate Murphy, head of food services for the school district, spearheaded the initiative. Students at all grade levels across the district participated.
Johnna Hunt, principal of Hillside Intermediate School, said that each school put their own spin on it.
"At Hillside, all I needed to do was pass the concept along to Tracey Theroux, our Student Council advisor, and she was off and running with it," she said. "...The generosity of the Hillside families was overwhelming. Our halls were filled with orange as students made their way to the office to share their donations. By the end of the day, 632 food items were collected for the Naugatuck Food Bank."
Another teacher, Karie Stango, encouraged her students to sell bracelets with all donations going to the food bank, Hunt said.
"It is simple events like this, when we are able to give students the opportunity to see the value in helping others that makes our profession so rewarding," she said. "This was just another example of the positive impact that our students can have when they are given the opportunity to pay it forward and help others in need."