Healthy School Snacks for all School Children
The Sharing Place Food Bank launched the Kid’s Zone Brown Bag Lunch Snack Program in January 2013. In October 2012, we were awarded $4,000 to provide nutritious food for school aged children through The Rural Kids Grant Program. This initiative of the Ontario Association of Food Banks, made possible through the generous support of The Grocery Foundation, provides food banks in rural Ontario with an opportunity to increase the amount of fresh, healthy food available for children in their community. We believe in The Grocery Foundation mission: Getting food to hungry kids. In September 2013 we were awarded $3300 through this annual grant opportunity to continue this vital program.
How does the program work?
The Sharing Place Food Bank offers to families that visit the food bank one bag of snacks per month for each elementary and secondary school aged child at the same residence. A sample bag might include the following food items which parents and their children would then distribute within daily lunches: applesauce cup, fruit cup, 100% juice box, granola or cereal bar, raisin snack box, fresh cheese portion, crackers, 100% fruit bar, yogurt tube, fresh banana, fresh apple and fresh orange.
Supporting families' dignity and self-worth
Our program offers several benefits in addition to helping to reduce hunger. The snacks are in original manufacturers packaging so there was no way to distinguish low income children from the rest of the class. This simple step allows inclusiveness within their peer groups (“my lunch looks the same as yours”). The program also encourages choice (“what should we include in your lunch today?”) which in turn increases self esteem and confidence. Children may have had little opportunity in their lives previously to participate in decision making.
The program is suspended during the school summer vacation but begins again in September. We feel very strongly that children are our future and must be nurtured.
Ongoing donations are needed
Business and private donor support is critical as the average monthly cost is $1,800. If you would like to make a donation to support this program, please contact Shawna Ballik at shawna(at)sharingplaceorillia.org