The Food Bank of Iowa is shifting from summer to fall programs to help high school and elementary students as they resume classes.
Communications director Danny Akright says,”As kids come back to school this fall they’ll be able to get food through two of our most popular programs — the school pantry and our backpack program. School pantries work just like a normal food pantry, but it is located in a school. And in a lot of cases they’re open to the community at large too. It’s great because it is very convenient and discrete for families and kids to get food.”
The backpack program sees kids through on days when they are not in school. “Our backpack program is a great way for kids who lack the resources of those school meal programs over the weekend to take a sack of food home and have the sustenance that they need throughout the weekend and then return to school on Monday ready to learn,” Akright says. Akright says donations supply the food that’s used.
He says both are operated from the distribution center in Des Moines where it is packed and prepared for schools and communities throughout the Food Bank’s 55 county service area. Akright credits school administrators and teachers with helping identify sites for the pantries.
“School pantry programs are one of our biggest growth areas right now. People have started to realize the major benefits of having a school pantry available,” Akright says. “It really helps kids be able to come to school every day ready to learn. And almost every community has a school that can be a hub of activity in that community. So to be able to have food available is a really great way to help that community to get the food it needs.” He says they are always looking for areas that could use the service.
He says anyone who is interested in connecting them with their school can go to foobankiowa.org to learn more and get in touch with them. Akright says they are also happy to accept donations to the Food Bank to help provided the service to the kids and families and you can find out how to donate on their website.