This winter, the Food Bank’s Children’s Programs team has been busy developing seven new projects to improve the BackPack and School Pantry Programs. The goals of these initiatives are two-fold: first, and most importantly, to determine if there are areas where our Kids’ Programs can better serve the children and families who receive food. Second, the goal is to better optimize our available resources.
Many of these projects are well underway, with volunteers from our partner schools providing insight and feedback to make sure our ideas are feasible for them and are as impactful as possible for the children.
- BackPack: Analyze nutritional content of existing bags to ensure the food sent home is as nutritionally well-balanced as possible.
- BackPack: Distribute culturally relevant food to applicable students to ensure families recognize and use the food sent home in the bags.
- BackPack and School Pantry: Conduct student and family satisfaction surveys to determine what foods are liked and used, and what foods should be reconsidered. Surveys also anonymously assess the social service safety-net programs families are using (SNAP, local food pantries, etc.) to learn what supports may be lacking. We will distribute literature about the various programs to inform families about the resources available to them.
- BackPack and School Pantry: Provide funding for the purchase of refrigerators or freezers to store cold food for needy children.
- BackPack: Renew distribution of free refrigerated and frozen food to schools that can safely store and distribute it, with a focus on produce, dairy and protein.
- BackPack: Incorporate choice into what foods schools receive each week (starting with a small-scale pilot).
- School Pantry: Introduce our online ordering platform to partner schools so they can view the “live” inventory and streamline the ordering process.