Teachers in West Virginia went on strike this week to fight for better pay, but they haven’t forgotten about their students. Despite being in the middle of protests, the teachers handed out food to low-income students to ensure that they never go unfed while the school’s doors are closed.
“A lot of our students depend on school breakfast and lunch as some of their most consistent meals,” Jennifer Wood, from the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers, said in an interview with Today. “Our teachers wouldn’t feel comfortable if their students weren’t taken care of.”
According to West Virginia residents, the extra support didn’t just come from educators alone:
The support from the community has been insane. The @marshallu Rec Center is running a day camp, restaurants are letting kids and teachers eat for free or reduced, churches and other orgs have made backpacks of food for kids to take home…
— Autumn is focusing on having seen Sami & Kev tag (@Autumn_Dalzell) February 26, 2018
Mary Ann Claytor, a candidate for West Virginia Senate District 17, noted that this isn’t a new practice for the state’s teachers. She also pleaded with current legislators to do more to help the hungry children of West Virginia.
This isn’t new for WV teachers. Teachers provide their kids with food the entire school year. They send home “goodie bags” over the weekends. What’s the legislature doing to make sure kids aren’t hungry during holiday breaks?
— Mary Ann Claytor (@maryannclaytor) February 28, 2018
Teachers are striking because they have yet to receive their promised five percent pay raise. The raise was agreed upon by teachers and the state, but the deal hasn’t been fully approved by the state legislature, partially due to provisions calling for better medical benefits for public school teachers.