Feeding Children

Throughout Southwest Florida, more than 65% of all public-school aged students are eligible for free or reduced lunches.

Schools, education centers and after-school programming centers are a natural fit for food pantries – they provide an easy-to-access location that parents and students feel comfortable in and visit regularly. While some parents might not be able to visit traditional food pantries because of distribution times or location, in most cases our program distributes food at the end of the day when parents are already at the education center to pick up their children. Locating food pantries in schools and education centers means the program is able to connect children and their families with the healthy food they need during the week and weekend.

In-School Pantry Program

Our In-School Pantry Program follows an evidence-based system that alleviates child hunger through food distribution at carefully selected schools. This nationally acclaimed food distribution model, taken by Feeding America, is designed to provide an accessible source of food assistance to students and their families who are hungry. By locating pantries inside schools, students and their families have easier access to food assistance and feel more comfortable acquiring food assistance in this manner due to familiarity with the site locations.

Harry Chapin Food Bank stocks the in-school pantries with shelf-stable foods such as canned vegetables and meat, cereal, dry pasta, boxed macaroni and cheese, soup, peanut butter, jelly, rice and beans. In addition, the In-school Pantry Program can be supplemented with fresh produce and frozen meat items when available.

Harry’s Helpings

Harry’s Helpings is an innovative feeding program that provides supplemental food kits for families at childcare, early childhood education, and after-school programming centers where traditional food pantry distribution models are not feasible due to space constraints, lack of adequate staffing or other barriers.

Harry’s Helpings also offers assistance to the community at community and service centers, special one-time events, and other non-traditional feeding programs. Harry’s Helpings kits are filled with enough nutritious, shelf-stable food for up to 15 meals for a family of four. They may include canned vegetables and canned meat, cereal, dry pastas, boxed macaroni and cheese, soups and stews, peanut butter, jelly, rice and beans.

In addition, Harry’s Helpings can be supplemented with fresh and frozen items in coordination with partner sites and when available.

For more information about these programs, call (239) 334-7007 or email childprograms@harrychapinfoodbank.org.