Our School Pantry Program is a partnership with local schools that allows food-insecure children and their families to access food assistance directly from their school. The goal of the program is to minimize hunger and malnutrition for low-income households, while also encouraging parents to take an active role in their child’s education and development. This program is part of MFB Kids™, a youth outreach initiative sponsored by Giant that seeks to provide children with the nutrition needed to grow healthy and strong.
How do School Pantries work?
The Maryland Food Bank works with schools to establish small pantries on site, from which students can access food in several ways. Many schools have their pantries open on specific days and times, usually after school hours. Select schools also supply weekend survival kits — typically enough food to last a child over the weekend — to children identified as especially at risk. Schools also have the opportunity to host mobile pantries, which distribute thousands of pounds of food to hundreds of families at a time.
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Why are school pantries so critical to a child’s success?
Studies link food insecurity in children to lower test scores and academic failure.
Hungry children have trouble concentrating and struggle with behavioral issues in the classroom.
Without sufficient nutrition, kids face a higher risk for developmental impairments.
Individuals that have struggled with food insecurity as a child suffer long-term effects, such as poor health and lack of job readiness.
What sets school pantries apart from similar programs?
MFB partners with schools across the state to provide a reliable source of healthy, fresh and nutritious food to families throughout the school year. The School Pantry Program minimizes the stigma sometimes attached to food assistance by offering it in a familiar setting that is already part of families’ everyday lives. Parents often serve as pantry volunteers, with the added benefit of becoming more involved in their child’s education. Because schools participating in the program have high levels of participation in the free and reduced-price school meals program, we know that we are reaching a pre-qualified population in need.