Student hunger raised during Calgary teachers convention

Poverty was on the agenda Friday at the annual Calgary teachers convention, where educators expressed increasing concern about the number of students showing up to class hungry.

Some educators bringing food to class to give to children who show up without being well fed

Stephen Lewis, right, was among the speakers during a discussion on student hunger at the annual Calgary teachers convention on Feb. 12, 2016. (Allison Dempster/CBC)

Poverty was on the agenda Friday at the annual Calgary teachers convention, where educators expressed increasing concern about the number of students showing up to class hungry.

Among the speakers on the topic was former UN special envoy Stephen Lewis.

"There is of course tremendous turmoil in the resource sector in Alberta," he said. "I understand that ... but in the midst of it all, children can't go hungry."

Calgary teacher Julia Frayne said the recession is having a noticeable impact on some of the students in her classroom.

"Before this economic downturn we didn't have really many students coming to school without food," she said. "And now, I would say within each classroom there's probably two or three."

Frayne said some of her colleagues are also worried about students going hungry and are taking steps themselves to make sure kids are fed well enough to learn.

"Teachers are bringing extra to their classrooms and knowing which students are asking for it, or looking for food," she said.

Frayne also said school boards need to expand breakfast and lunch programs during the downturn.

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