The Food Bank for Larimer County and the Junior League of Fort Collins are happy to announce a new partnership to provide snacks to local schools. Since 2009, the Food Bank’s Kids Link snack program has provided shelf stable snacks to schools where more than 50% of students qualify for free and reduced meals. During the height of the recession, schools reported growing numbers of children who were receiving their only nourishment at school. Concerned teachers and staff members were purchasing snacks with their own money to support these children. To help with this critical issue, the Food Bank stepped in and allocated funding to provide healthy snacks to these schools to lessen the financial burden on teachers and ensure kids had more to eat.
The Junior League of Fort Collins began the Poudre School District snack program in 2006 in an effort to address the growing childhood hunger epidemic throughout Larimer County as part of their initiative to create opportunities for women and children to thrive. Since the program’s inception, the Junior League of Fort Collins has provided snacks each year to students at Poudre School District schools. The snacks were provided to students participating in after school enrichment programs with populations at 36% and higher qualifying for free and reduced lunch and during state testing.
“As the schools’ need for support has continued over the years, a partnership made sense,” said Amy Pezzani, Executive Director, Food Bank for Larimer County. “Working with the Junior League we are able enhance the Kids Link program by adding delivery. In the past, many qualifying schools were unable to fully take advantage of the program because of hours and location.”
Under the new partnership arrangement, the Food Bank will procure and store the snacks. The Junior League of Fort Collins will fund the program, fill orders and deliver them to area schools. The program will continue to concentrate on providing healthy snacks to children in need so that they can stay focused. It is available to qualifying Thompson and Poudre School District schools. To be eligible, 50% or more of the school’s student population must qualify for free and reduced meals.
“We are very excited to combine the passion of our volunteer-based organization with the Food Bank for Larimer County through this new partnership,” Sarah Hunnell, President, Junior League of Fort Collins. “It is our hope that this important work will make a difference for more children in need in our community.”