Every day, a large number of children attend school on an empty stomach and sit through their classes with hunger gnawing at their bellies.
Approximately 13 million children across the United States struggle with food insecurity, they are not getting enough nutrition on a regular basis. Nearly one in six children in America belongs to a household that lacks means to put food on the table.
This issue is prevalent across the world and requires urgent attention — which is why the Norwegian government is trying to encourage people to foster children. To make their point and get the conversation started, the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs recently shared a video on their Facebook page that immediately went viral in the country.
Now, it is making waves all across the world.
The heartrending ad, titled “The Lunchbox,” tells the story of a young boy opening an empty lunchbox as his classmates enjoyed their lunch in the background. Dejected, the kid raises his hand and asks the teacher to excuse him before going to the water fountain and then staring forlornly out of the window.
After spending some time out of the classroom, he returns to his desk and grabs his lunchbox to put it back in the bag. However, something stops him short. He shakes the box and opens it to find it's not empty anymore — his friends filled it with their lunch.
The video ended with this powerful line: “Solutions are often closer than you think.”
The ad resonated with many people, inspiring them to share their own tales of facing food insecurity as a child.
“This is a great message and hits very close to home. This was me as a kid. We were very poor at certain points when I was a kid and sometimes the only time I ate was school lunch. So when we had to do something to where we had to pack a lunch I went without. I actually hated summer break for the fear of not being able to eat. It's honestly why I work so hard to this very day so my kids will never know what it's like to go to bed hungry,” wrote a Facebook user.
Others shared some moments of kindness they had witnessed.
“Once in the midst of the lesson one of my students complained he wasn’t feeling so well. Thus I stopped and asked him if he had eaten anything. It turned out that he had only drunk a glass of milk early in the morning and it was 12:30. I didn’t have to say anything,” recalled a social media user. “The rest of my children one by one started opening their bags and taking out cookies, fruit, chocolate, whatever they had brought along. We had a little break and all had a bite. We didn’t want him to feel ashamed and secluded. My heart was torn but at the same time I was moved and felt proud of all my students!”
“I had an exactly the same situation on my first year at school. Once I couldn't find my meal in my backpack and my teacher asked everyone to share with me. I will never forget that. It was very moving. As it turned out later it was deep in my backpack,” commented another.
According to a nonprofit organization, Children’s Rights, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care on any given day in the U.S.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters