More Than 1,400 Schools Making Sure ‘No One Eats Alone’

CHICAGO (CBS) — Students in 62 schools in Illinois will be taking part in a national one-day event at lunch on Friday; making sure that no one eats alone.

Four of the schools taking part in “No One Eats Alone Day” are in Elgin District U-46: Hilltop, Laurel Hill, Lowrie and Washington Elementary Schools.

District spokeswoman Mary Fergus said the initiative started in California in 2012. More than 1,400 schools across the country were participating Friday.

The aim is to reduce social isolation and promote inclusion.

“‘No One Eats Alone’ is a lunchtime school event that asks students to engage in a simple act of kindness; and that is to make sure that no one is eating alone and that students are learning to make an effort to reach out to new classmates and peers,” Fergus said.

Fergus said organizers hope to have students practice kindness all year long.

“The purpose is to really try and reduce any sense of social isolation, and promote a sense of acceptance and inclusion,” Fergus said. “The point of the program, too – even though it’s a stand-alone, one day event – is really to carry on throughout the year, so the lessons will not end today.”

The initiative is not just about making sure kids don’t eat alone, but helping them work better together.

“So there’s some activities around group project work, and how to make that go a little bit more smoothly,” she said.

At Washington Elementary, students will watch a video about breaking down the walls of social isolation. At Lowrie School, stickers and conversation starters will be on tables.

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