Feeding Kids Coast to Coast

This summer, Feeding America food banks across the country made sure kids have enough to eat

Girl eating lunch
September 1, 2017
by Brooke Still

Summer is winding down — and for Feeding America, the long, sunny days have been filled with making sure kids have enough to eat while school is out. One of the best ways we do that is through summer meal sites where children can come together for healthy meals. These sites are generously supported by Conagra Brands Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer Classic grant. From Kansas to California and everywhere in between, food banks have been serving food and fun to children who may not have enough to eat.

Feeding America staffers have been traveling to these sites to see for themselves the impact we’re making. Check out some of their trip highlights:

Books & BackSnacks on Board the AdventureMobile
As told by Emily Catalano, Digital Specialist

“I heard there are going to be snakes!” Bethany Reyna, the BackSnack Manager at Harvesters — The Community Food Network, told me as we pulled up to the AdventureMobile in Topeka, KS. I tried not to show the complete panic I felt inside as it was explained to me that kids meet a new animal each week on board the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s AdventureMobile as part of their Critter Club — which also delivers food to kids. Had I known, I may have planned my visit during the kitten week!

During the school year, Harvesters provides over 20,000 BackSnacks each week filled with shelf-stable, nutritious food for kids to take home over the weekend. And through unique partnerships - like this one with the library’s AdventureMobile — the kids can still receive their BackSnacks when school is out, and have some fun!

The AdventureMobile visits all the summer hotspots for kids — stopping at local pools, community centers, churches and more. Children are encouraged to visit weekly so they can meet the critter on board, take home library books and get healthy food.

Mobile Market Community Hub
As told by Emily Catalano, Digital Specialist

Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, CA, is keeping meals on the table through Mobile Markets.

As I walked up to the Mobile Market I noticed over 260 families lining the block of the Barbara Lee Center for Health and Wellness. I wasn’t sure that the one truck was going to have enough food for everyone. I asked Clarissa Broughton, Direct Distribution Coordinator, what they do if they run out. She explained that the selection and amount of food was thoroughly planned — but they do have a truck that serves as a backup, just in case.

The site of the Mobile Market is strategically selected, as the clinic is a hub for community services and located across the street from San Leandro High School, where during the school year, students can pick up groceries for their families. And the Hunger-Free Summer Classic grant enabled the Mobile Market to stay open this summer.

While I was there, each household went home with 40-50 pounds of fresh produce, milk, eggs, bread and more. In just two hours, the Mobile Market distributed over 13,000 pounds of nutritious food, making it a great day for the community!

Partnering with the Housing Authority in Austin
As told by Juana Trujillo, Program Associate

Summer is the hardest time period to reach children, which is why it’s so important to partner with other organizations to make sure we’re reaching as many kids as we can when school is out.

Thanks to funding from the Hunger-Free Summer Classic grant, the Central Texas Food Bank has been able to establish and maintain a partnership with the Housing Authority, an organization that works to create sustainable affordable housing communities. When I visited the food bank this summer, I saw how this partnership was making great things happen for Austin families:

  1. Serving meals made directly from their large professional kitchen
  2. Sending sturdy bags full of produce home with every child who receives a meal
  3. Building trust among the community by engaging residents of the Housing Authority to manage the summer sites at their housing complex

In 2016, the Central Texas Food Bank operated 79 summer meal sites, serving more than 74,000 meals to participating children. This summer, those numbers are expected to grow with this partnership going strong.

If you want to find ways to fight summer hunger in your community, take a look at our Hungry to Help Family Action Plan »