December 6, 2014

by Mya Price, Child Hunger Corps member

The Child Hunger Corps is a national service program designed to increase the capacity and capability of food banks to execute programs targeted towards the alleviation of child hunger. The objective of the program is to increase the number of nutritious meals served to children in need in local communities across the country. The Child Hunger Corps initiative is sponsored by the ConAgra Foods Foundation.

The fourth cohort of Corps members has been working at their Feeding America member food bank host sites since August 2013. This post is by fourth cohort member Mya Price, Child Hunger Corps member at God’s Pantry Food Bank.

Now that's it's wintery and cold, I'm dreaming of the warmth of summer and the amazing progress we were able to make in our summer feeding program.

​As a way of assessing where God's Pantry Food Bank should consider expanding its summer feeding program, I was able to implement new summer programming through partnerships created with county libraries. A total of four libraries distributed snacks over the summer by hosting two types of feeding sites. Snacks were either distributed at the libraries and/or on the bookmobiles. Participating libraries were in parts of eastern Kentucky counties that weren't able to host summer programming due to lack of county funding and transportation. Both components are essential for operating any type of programming. Providing resources such as the bookmobile and offering programming at the libraries along with a snack, allowed these counties to feed children throughout the summer.

Programming offered at the library encompassed a wide range of educational activities for the children. Educational activities included guest speakers and planning-themed weeks. Overall, children were able to participate in each of these planned activities and also receive a snack. The offering of both components led to a significant increase in attendance and ultimately more children received a snack. Program coordinators and their volunteers noted that, "this program was very much needed for our county," and "the children want to have this program next summer!"

On the other hand, libraries that offered their programming through the bookmobile were able to coordinate their own routes, deliver programming directly to the children, and also deliver snacks. Routes on the bookmobile included stops at apartment complexes, community centers, school locations, and other locations throughout the county where there where children. Along with receiving a snack at their stop, children checked out books and were able to participate in story time. One coordinator noted how excited the children were about the bookmobile and quoted one child as saying, "the snack bus is here!"

As this type of programming was first piloted in Fayette County, the Food Bank would like to continue expanding this program throughout rural counties in the Food Bank's service area. The Food Bank services a majority of rural counties in which children face the highest need and who may not have easy access to county resources. The goal is to operate the Summer Feeding Program to ensure children are being fed over the summer months when resources are not regularly available. The implementation of this program in these high need areas would not be possible without the partnerships formed with the libraries and the Food Bank's goal to feed more children.

Tags: Fighting Hunger in Action , Child Hunger , Kentucky , God's Pantry Food Bank, Inc.

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