Fall is generally a time of great excitement for school-age kids; it means a new year with a new teacher, new friends, and new beginnings. Schools serve as so much more than a place where a child learns math or geography, but as a center and safe gathering place for the community surrounding it. For the 1 out of 4 children who struggle with hunger every day, it can also serve as a place where you can they can count on receiving the food they need to learn and thrive. The Food Bank has fostered partnerships with schools over the past five years, creating the Farm 2 Kids program that provides five pounds of fresh produce to over 9,000 children at 80 sites each week. To take these partnerships even further, the Food Bank created a School Pantry program that provides shelf-stable food to high school students in need.
The School Pantries are located on school grounds and run by a school staff member. This way food can be given out discreetly to avoid any embarrassment that many students already experience during high school years. The office manager of one high school realized a girl at school was not eating anything except for the free lunch she received at school. When she spoke with this girl, the student explained that her dad has diabetes and they spend all of their money on buying him special foods. Sometimes there is just not enough for her brothers and sisters. She is now able to pick out the foods her family can eat like brown rice, canned vegetables without salt and low-sugar cereals. This represents a need that the Food Bank would not be able to identify on their own. Through these strategic partnerships the Food Bank is able to help students of all ages in a way that makes them confident, happy and ready to learn.
The Food Bank is able to maintain programs like school pantries and Farm 2 Kids with support from a generous community. Find out how to donate on our website.