Chris McGreal
The Guardian
May 1, 2009

Each Friday, teachers in elementary schools in a corner of the richest country in the world quietly slip packs of peanut butter, fruit and granola bars into some pupils’ bags – enough food to get them through the weekend before school dinners resume on Monday.

[efoods]Not a word is said to the pupils or their parents because, even as the number of families in West Virginia dependent on food handouts continues to rise, many are ashamed to admit to their friends and neighbours that they need help.

“The teachers spot the children they think aren’t getting enough to eat at home, those from families they know are having difficulties,” said Carla Nardella, who heads the state’s main food bank which distributes free boxes of groceries and supplies soup kitchens in West Virginia.

“These are proud people, so the teachers do it discreetly. We call them backpack snack packs, and started distributing them this year to give extra food to children because the situation is getting more difficult.

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