Powerful Norwegian Ad Inspires Online Conversation About Students Going Hungry At School

"Sometimes small things can make a big difference. We hope this film can trigger people to reach out to children who need their help."

A Norwegian ad encouraging people to foster children has inspired a worldwide online conversation about students going hungry at school.

According to BuzzFeed News, the ad (which is only a minute long) was originally posted on Facebook late last month by The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs. It was then reposted last week by another Facebook page called Everything About Silence, and has been viewed more than a combined 127 million times.

The ad, below, opens with a classroom full students about to eat lunches they'd brought from home. All of the students start to eat, except for one boy who excuses himself to go get a drink of water upon realizing his lunch box was empty.

When he returns a few minutes later, he goes to put his lunchbox back in his desk but notices there's something inside. He opens the lunch box to find his fellow classmates had each given him part of their meals so he could have something to eat.



The ad has sparked a worldwide conversation about students going hungry at school. Parents and teachers from all over the world have weighed in, with many revealing they often see or hear of their own kids or other students sharing their lunches with a classmate who has nothing to eat, just as the ad depicts.

Amy Marcsisak Donovan, a teacher from the northeastern United States commented, "I've had kiddos in this situation and kiddos who shared because they had an amazingly big heart," and Farida Yasmin, an educator from Bangladesh, noted her students "readily share" if one of their classmates doesn't have lunch.

"Every day my son ask me for extra snacks for his friends.... and I gladly pack extra snacks because I know what it feels like not to have enough money to send your kid to school without any snack," a mom named Nitzy wrote.

The video also struck a chord with adults who remembered what it was like to go hungry as a student. "As someone who used to get sent to school without any lunch to eat often, this makes me tear up. The nuns would take my little sister and I to the rectory and make us a sandwich. But not without making us feel horrible about it. We would be scolded and made to feel ashamed," a woman named Yurii DeLaney wrote.

"We love the fact that the film resonates with so many people across the world," a spokesperson for The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs tells BuzzFeed News. "Sometimes small things can make a big difference. We hope this film can trigger people to reach out to children who need their help."

Though the online observations show how kind and compassionate young people can be, they also highlight just how prevalent child hunger is, even in nations like the United States and Norway — two of the world's wealthiest countries.

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According to Feeding America, 13.1 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2015, and 1 in 6 children in the U.S. worry about when they'll have their next meal. The organization, which aims to relieve domestic hunger, also reports they serve about twelve million children annually. 

In addition to supporting charities and organizations like Feeding America, people can also take a stand against child hunger on a local level. Take, for example, this Seattle father of three who raised enough money to pay off an entire school district's lunch debt, thus eliminating "lunch shaming" for students who couldn't afford a meal.

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