EUGENE, Ore. - Educators know that kids who get enough to eat are kids who arrive at school ready to learn.
Retired teachers at North Eugene High School have teamed up with McDonalds and Carl's Jr. to make food coupons available to students.
"The problem is huge," said Linda Preston, a retired North Eugene math teacher helping champion the program along with other retirees. "We can't solve the problem, but we're sure going to attack it."
Students said it helps.
"I went hungry a few times," student Damion Seemayer told KVAL News. "Through the weekends, it's helped me eat; it's helped me get some food for my father."
"It's good to see, to get something in my stomach once in a while and get me through the day," student Christian McCave said. "It helps me a lot. I was glad the school had a program like that. I didn't even know about it."
The coupons are available confidentially through the school nurse for use on weekends and holidays, "especially over Christmas vacation when we're able to hand out $30-35 worth of coupons to them and know that at least once a day they could have a hot meal," said Nancy Ehlers on the North Eugene nursing staff.
The program resonates with the restaurants involved. The McDonald's on River Avenue has agreed to host a two-hour fundraiser for the program on March 7. Half the sales will got to the North Eugene Retiree Association to expand the coupon program.
"In my heart it means there's somebody that's not going to go hungry at least for one more meal," said Angie Holland, marketing manager at McDonald's
And for folks who ask whether giving a student a coupon for fast food send the right message, Preston has an answer.
"You know, if we all lived in a utopia, that might be a question I'd be concerned about," she said. "Maybe a hamburger is not he best thing, but I know no food is not a choice I would choose."