Elementary school teacher Rachel Uretsky-Pratt shared a photo of a gift she received from one of her students—Lucky Charms marshmallows—and instantly captured the hearts of not just her community, but the internet at large.
"Today was the last day before our winter break," she wrote. "We will have two weeks off to rest with our families and loved ones over the holidays then head back to school in 2019."
Uretsky-Pratt noted that the holiday season prompts many teachers to "bring their kiddos something such as books or little treats and occasionally in return receive something from their students."
Uretsky-Pratt herself received chocolates, notes, and jewelry from her students, but the bag of Lucky Charms marshmallows, she says, "stood out to me the most."
"You see, 100% of my school is on free/reduced lunch. They also get free breakfast at school every day of the school week. This kiddo wanted to get my something so badly, but had nothing to give.So rather than give me nothing, this student opened up her free breakfast cereal this morning, took the packaging of her spork, straw, and napkin, and finally took the time to take every marshmallow out of her cereal to put in a bag—for me. Be grateful for what you have, and what others give you. It all truly comes from the deepest parts of their hearts."
Hearts grew several sizes that day, with many expressing sheer joy at the child's generosity.
One teacher even shared a story of her own:
More than 13 million children in the United States live in "food insecure" homes, according to hunger relief organization No Kid Hungry. The organization also reports that:
- 1 in 6 children in the United States face hunger.
- Over 40 million people lived in poverty in 2016. 13 million were children.
- 59 percent of food-insecure households reported that they take advantage of federal nutrition programs like SNAP and WIC.
- 20 million children in the United States rely on SNAP benefits.
- The USDA reports that 45 million Americans rely on SNAP benefits to buy food each month; two-thirds of these benefits go to households with children.
- WIC, on top of serving 53 percent of infants in the United States, was a boon for 7.7 million mothers and children who relied on WIC benefits to buy food in 2016.
- 56 percent of children in each state ate breakfast at school in 2016.
- 5 out of 6 kids who rely on free or reduced-price school meals aren't getting free meals in the summer.
A little perspective, indeed.