Families who are struggling to make ends meet already rely on the school system's free/reduced-price meal program to provide healthy and nutritious food to their school-age kids when school is in session. What about when school is not in session; including weekends, holiday breaks, and summer? Where do families turn during those trying times? That was part of the thought process we went through before setting up our School Pantry Program.
For nearly 44,000 kids in southwestern Wisconsin hunger is a very real feeling, with very real consequences. Children who do not receive enough healthy and nutritious food:
- struggle in school and dropout at higher rates than kids who do not face hunger
- experience developmental impairments
- have more social and behavorial problems
Schools are at the center of many activities in the community, so it only makes sense to work with schools to provide groceries to children and their families right at the school. Currently Second Harvest has three school pantries in our service territory; serving 125 families each month. By June of 2019 we hope to grow that number to eight school pantries. To learn more about starting your own school food pantry, download our School Pantry Program Toolkit.
The School Pantry Program is one more example of Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin looking for new and innovative ways to help those families who struggle to make ends meet.