Mayport is home to a PDA program, and the program is designed to provide healthy snacks to students in a safe environment, including on-site restrooms.
The school also runs a food bank.
But parents and staff have been left to deal with a high number of hunger pangs, and there is a growing list of students who have had to resort to eating in public for their daily sustenance.
“It’s frustrating for a lot of kids because they can’t eat in the cafeteria because it’s too crowded,” said Mayport parent Stephanie Sperling.
The program is meant to help students, but some parents worry that it’s not enough.
“They’re eating in the halls of Mayport, and it’s so crowded, and they’re not really feeling safe, and I can’t help them,” said Sperlings’ daughter, Lola.
“We just don’t want them to go through this, because it could be so much worse.”
Lola and her mother both said they feel the need to go to school every day in order to eat in a way that feels comfortable, and that’s exactly what Mayport has become.
“If I didn’t go to Mayport I wouldn’t have my daughter and her friends, because she’d be eating outside and not feeling comfortable,” Sperlies said.
“I just feel bad for them because it just makes me sad, because they’re eating healthy.”