Children of poverty often seem to not pay attention. But, their focus is on survival. They are reading the cues in the environment because they need to notice if someone stressed and about to react. They need to see what is available to them, and not miss it. They are on the look out, because they don't have the energy to focus. They don't show up, because there are many things going on in their lives that take precedence over school.
We need to always be open and vigilant about these 'unseen' problems. The school must report, but we must recognize the need, and our kids are very good at hiding. They are worried about their parents, about everything else going on. We need to make the food available, but not make it feel like a favor or a gift. It isn't. We need to welcome and show genuine kindness and safety for these students.