The other day I visited a school in Richmond as part of my regular visits to the 79 schools we serve through the Farm 2 Kids program. As the Program Coordinator it is my job to make sure everything is going smoothly at the schools’ weekly produce distributions and look for other ways the Food Bank can help.
This is an area hard it by the effects of the recession and as I drove through the neighborhood that fact was made apparent by the amount of foreclosure signs I saw. Kristina, the After School Program Manager showed me where they pass out bags of produce to the kids as their parents pick them up at the end of the day. Families were helping themselves to oranges, potatoes, and yams and the kids seemed more than happy to help their parents carry the food home. When I talked further with Kristina she explained to me that parents are taking this produce not as a luxury, but as a necessity. “We have so many families that are moving in with their extended families to save money so we have new kids at the school all the time. Parents are losing their homes and their jobs and having to rent rooms to get by. This food is something they really need.” She went on to explain that in times of crisis, people see the school as a safe place they can go for resources. She loves being able to provide healthy food as another resource for them because she knows they need it. The extra help the Food Bank provides helps them stretch the few dollars they do have to provide for their children.
The Farm 2 Kids program provides 3-5 pounds of produce to after school programs each week. Over 9,000 low-income children regularly receive fresh fruits and vegetables through the program. To find out more about Farm 2 Kids visit our page or donate to support the program.