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Early Stages of Development

When children experience hunger and food insecurity in their early stages of development there can be lasting effects on them. These effects include hunger-related toxic stress can negatively affect brain development, learning, information processing, and academic achievement in children. Effects on brain development often stay with the children for their entire lives making it an irreversible part of their lives, even though they were powerless in their circumstances. Learning becomes harder with a distinct focus on survival and obtaining food. Children in these circumstances experience a decrease in information processing: their ability to understand and act on information they hear or see. Finally, children experience a distinct drop in academic and extracurricular activities. These combined effects create serious issues later on in life and often prevent them from succeeding altogether.

Malnutrition in the first years of life is especially harmful, impacting physical growth, decreasing resistance to disease, limiting the size and functioning of children’s brain structures, and stunting intellectual capacity. These often show as a form of withdrawal from day to day life. Many children show signs of depression and mental health issues as a result of malnutrition, hunger, and food insecurity. For them, fear and anxiety is a normal part of life.

Hunger and food insecurity is a dangerous in the lives of youth. Once they experience hunger and food insecurity for long period of time, the effects cause more permanent damage. The lasting effects can range from permanant brain development and cognitive ability to mental disorders that stay with them for the rest of their lives. This makes it hard for those effected to become successful i=over the rest of their lives. 


Help end hunger and food insecurity in York County, Maine by giving food, a tax deductable gift monthly, or volunteering. With your help we can prevent youth from experiencing the effects of malnutrition and hunger. No child or teen should experience the fear and permanant damage that comes from long periods of hunger and food insecurity.

Started as the first pilot project of the locker project, Youth Full Maine has partnered with school systems and food banks to end youth food insecurity in York County, Maine. Our vision is to create a Youth Full Maine. Our every day activities are managing food drives and food banks within schools and the logistics of getting food to youth in York County Maine when they are not at school.

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