A recent study showed a link between programs that provide weekend meals to students facing food insecurity and an increase in those students' reading and math scores.
In the study, the results of which were published in the Economics of Education Review, the authors combined data collected from a large Feeding America BackPack program with data on student test scores and absences in northwest North Carolina elementary schools.
They found that those who participated in weekend meal programs had increased reading test scores, as well as evidence suggesting that math scores among participants also rose. The increase was more prominent among the youngest and lowest-performing students.
Food insecurity among children was a problem before the pandemic, but its prevalence has increased during COVID-19, according to a Harvard study. In response, districts such as Broward County Schools in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Hardin County School District in Hardin, Tenn., have begun offering weekend meals to students during the pandemic.