Hunger is isolating for anyone, but especially to young people trying to figure out the world around them. For kids living with hunger, going back to school can mean going back to shame and embarrassment. Many students have to skip breakfast and/or don’t have enough food in their cupboards to pack a lunch, nor do they have the money to purchase a meal at school. The federal free-reduced lunch program provides a lifeline to these kids, but it’s not enough.
“You’re not yourself when you’re hungry,” explains a local high school senior and school pantry volunteer. “It’s tough to make decisions.”
The Food Bank has programs to specifically provide students from preschool through college with supplemental food to ensure everyone has a chance to thrive:
Food for Children
Once a month 580 children, ages four through six years old, receive a 30-pound box of nutritious high-protein food. The national program, WIC (the Federal Women, Infants, and Children program), refers qualifying families to the Food for Children program. The Food Bank created the program to fill the gap that can exist between children served under WIC and children served with lunch programs at schools.
Farm 2 Kids
Every week during the school year 10,000 children receive a three to five pound bag of produce to take home. To help children establish healthy eating habits, we partner with after school programs at elementary schools in low-income areas in eligible school districts.
School Pantry Program
The School Pantry Program provides nutritious, nonperishable food to students attending qualified low-income schools. Located on school grounds, the pantries offer middle school and high school students monthly access to groceries on an as-needed basis. The students are able to take the food home with them. The goal is to ensure that these students get the fuel they need to succeed. The program currently serves 1,490 students and their families a month.
College Pantry Program
We provide food and support to food pantries at six local community college and one 4-year university campuses. Most are open 5-days a week and enrolled students with a school ID can pick up free groceries at these little mini-markets. Students are able to pick out what food they want according to their personal dietary restrictions or food preferences.
We thank you for your continued support of the Food Bank. Together we are fueling growing bodies and minds this back to school season.