A Teacher’s Guide to Ensuring Students are Warm, Fed & Celebrated During Winter Break
As the holidays and winter breaks quickly approach, many students and teachers alike are eager for rest and celebration. However, teachers know that for some students winter break can bring an inadequate food supply, lack of proper attire and little-no holiday celebration. Despite this knowledge, teachers may find themselves feeling helpless to the situation or without the proper resources to support these students after break begins. To assist teachers in their support efforts, we have collected several resources for teachers to help you pinpoint students in need, and then locate and share local resources with their students and their students’ families.
Pinpointing Students in Need
While some students are incredibly vocal about their holiday plans, others may not be. Teachers may choose to have the entire class participate in writing letters to their teacher about their plans for break. This can be a great way to gauge which students may be in need of additional resources (1).
Language is Important
Talking about break and investing in student excitement is typical in the classroom. However, modifying language to include all students in the classroom can help alleviate alienation of students who don’t share the same excitement due to home circumstances. For instance, instead of asking students, “What are you going to get for Christmas?” try “What is one way you can help someone in the next couple of weeks?” (1). Using more inclusive language may allow students to be more vulnerable about their break plans and create a safer environment for expressing concern.
- No Kid Hungry — All across the country, schools and community groups run summer meals sites where kids can eat breakfast and lunch for free. No Kid Hungry helps local organizations launch and operate these sites, and they also help fund needed equipment like mobile meals trucks. No Kid Hungry runs a summer meals texting service. You can text ‘FOOD’ to 877–877 to find free summer meals sites in their neighborhoods.
- Feeding America — The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks operates several summer food service programs during the summer that seek to serve students who need food service. These programs help meet the needs of low-income children and their families who face hunger in the summer by providing them with nutritious meals and snacks when school is not in session. You can find a local partner HERE.
- Local Churches — During the holidays, many churches host free holiday dinners. Finding out these times and locations can be an excellent resource to pass off to families.
Holiday Gift Resources
- Salvation Army: Angel Tree
- School Toy Drive — Work with your school to send letters out to parents. Have parents from you school send in toy donations that can be wrapped and sent home with parents of students in need.
- Connect With Local Churches — Several churches do toy drives during the holidays. Reaching out to these organizations with your needs can be a great way to connect your students parent with resources.
- School Coat Drive — For area of the country that require cold weather clothes, hosting a school coat/clothing drive can be an excellent way to provide for you students.
- Operation Warm — provides winter clothes around the country. Check to see if they do work near your area.
We hope you will be able to relay these resources to your student’s parents and that they can use them to make the most of the break to come. Looking for additional winter break resources? Check the links below:
Muir, T. (2018, December 13). Winter Break Is Hard for So Many of Our Students. Retrieved from https://www.weareteachers.com/supporting-students-winter-break/