As part of the Community Food Partnerships, Weaver Street Market and TABLE are asking shoppers to make donations to fill backpacks with healthy food for kids at risk for hunger during the summer months. The campaign begins Wednesday, May 20.
The food campaign is the second initiative of Weaver Street Market’s new Community Food Partnerships. Each quarter, we partner with one of the local hunger-relief nonprofits to support their efforts to connect food-insecure families in our community with nutritious food. Food insecure is a term used to describe those living with “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food.”
The lack of sufficient funds for food is an ongoing concern for low-income families. Hunger and the threat of hunger lead to an instability that jeopardizes not only the health of children in these families, but also their sense of security and well-being in the world. Studies show that children who do not receive adequate daily nutrition are at increased risk for serious health issues, particularly obesity, and not surprisingly, children who are hungry do not perform as well in school.
Organizations such as TABLE and PORCH provide a reliable food source at times when food-insecure families are most vulnerable. PORCH’s Food for Families program provides a week’s worth of produce, meat, and dairy to families once a month, at a time when they are more likely to have gone through their food stamps. TABLE’s Weekend Backpack Program and Summer TABLE both provide food to children when they are on breaks from school and do not have access to free school meals.
Putting together the food list for the “backpacks” presented a number of challenges and opportunities. TABLE welcomed the opportunity to make the food for the campaign even healthier with more fruits and vegetables, but our list needed to work within a number of constraints: The food must be light enough for a child to carry home (under 7 pounds total), safe for a child (non-refrigerated foods in non-breakable containers), and easy for a child to eat (ready-to-eat foods or foods that require minimal adult supervision).
In partnership with TABLE, Weaver Street Market has been able to turn a $15 donation into a longer list of healthier food by leveraging our buying power and working with vendor partners. Vendors of many familiar brands have stepped in to help. KIND is donating Healthy Grain Bars for each backpack donation, Organic Valley is giving us a substantial price reduction on shelf-stable milk, and Pacific Foods sent us 2,808 cartons of soup at 50% off.
We designed several donation options to help us reach our goal:
Check back for an upcoming post with new information on volunteer opportunities for Summer TABLE. Also, check out our Volunteer webpage for information on volunteering for monthly produce sorts at the Food House as well as opportunities to volunteer for our Community Food Partners.