In the spring of 2011, the pantry’s Board of Directors partnered with Chegwin Elementary School to launch a pilot Food for Thought program that would include 50 children.
Now in its fourth year, the program feeds 600 low-income students on weekends (during the school year) at the following schools in the City of Fond du Lac: Chegwin, Parkside, Riverside, Pier and Waters elementary schools, plus a pilot program at Sabish Middle School.
Fondy Food Pantry is committed to continuing to expand Food for Thought. Our dream is to be able to meet the nutritional needs of all children living in the Fond du Lac area.
Modeled after an organization in North Carolina, Food for Thought provides a child with four meals and snacks for the weekend. Cost for each child is approximately $5 per week.
A typical take-home bag includes milk, fruit juice, cereal or breakfast bar, fresh fruit and veggies, soup or a microwave meal and a snack. A typical weekend bag contains two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks. To receive this food children must qualify for the free federal breakfast and school lunch programs.
The program operates through monetary and food donations. Volunteers pack the food and make a weekly delivery to the schools. Local churches, individuals, community groups and organizations have joined the cause as word of the need for the Food for Thought program continues to spread.
The board participates in grant opportunities to further fund the growing program.
According to Fond du Lac School Superintendent Dr. James Sebert, "The increased number of children who are living in poorer situations speaks to the challenges many students and families are facing. In 2007-08, the District's percentage of eligible students for free and reduced lunch was 33.7 percent. That percentage rose to 45.6 in 2012."
The importance of school meals for these vulnerable children cannot be overstated. 30 million children eat school meals 180 days a year. Especially for children in low-income households, school lunch and school breakfast are critical for nutritional well-being. These meals typically comprise at least 50% of caloric intake for the school day and are often the only nutritious meals these children eat on a daily basis.
A five-member committee, comprised of Fondy Food Pantry board members, has been meeting on a regular basis to facilitate the program, all the while discussing future expansion and the need to spread the word about this amazing program.
Committee members are Fondy Food Pantry Board members:
· Sarah Zimmerman: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Linda Bastian: email@example.com
· Terry Hansen-Beno: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Marsha Lemmenes: email@example.com
· Sharon Roznik: firstname.lastname@example.org