EL PASO, TX - Hunger here in the borderland is a bigger problem than many people think. Even the youngest in our population - the school kids - have food insecurity.
Trying to learn on an empty stomach is a struggle for 25 percent of borderland kids, who go to bed hungry at night.
"It affects them in the classroom, " says Laura Escobar. She would know, as an elementary school nurse, she sees it all too often. "Headaches, stomach aches, problems paying attention and concentrating. You're asking your brain to work without the fuel it requires."
She adds that many teachers and staff keep extra snacks on hand for hungry kids. It's not just the short-term problems lack of food causes. Going without food can cause serious problems. She looks for signs of malnutrition on students' nails, hair, and skin.
Three meals a day is important, but more important is that the food consumed is quality, nutritious food.
Escobar says having a good rapport with kids is also important, so they feel comfortable coming to an adult when they have skipped a meal.
You can help fight childhood hunger by donating to our "It's all about the food" drive. Donations of non-perishable items are being accepted at area Albertsons, Viva Auto, Southwest University or Sun City Emergency. El Pasoans Fighting Hunger will make sure the donations get right to the people who need them most.