There is more than enough food in America to feed every man, woman and child, yet here in South Florida, over 794,110 people struggle with hunger.* Mobile School Pantry procures, sorts, inventories and directly provides food to those most vulnerable – our children and families. In the United States, according to the USDA, 40 percent of all the food produced each year is lost at the retail, consumer, and food service levels. That’s 133 Billion pounds of food a year. Much of what is wasted is perfectly edible, surplus food. Mobile School Pantry understands the importance of capturing excess food and providing it to people in need. Last year, our pantry diverted over 364,500 pounds of safe, edible food that might otherwise have gone to waste, to South Floridians facing hunger. *Source: Map the Meal Gap 2016 study by Feeding America
How Our Pantry Works
Mobile School Pantry works with Title 1 schools to establish a pop up Client Choice pantry on site, from which students and their families can access nutritious food items. The goal of the school pantry program is to provide not only food but connections to additional services for the family in order to achieve long-term solutions to end hunger. Children and families are referred to the Pantry by the guidance counselor or social worker at the school. There are two qualifications to participate in our program - Students must be enrolled in a participating school and need a helping hand.
Our Pantry offers a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and non-perishable food items in a farmer's market-style atmosphere at no charge to families in need of food assistance. The program operates once a month at each school. During this time, we distribute an average of 14,000 pounds of food items and serves 450 to 750 children and families.
Our client choice model offers advantages, including:
- A sense of dignity for children and their families
- Enables children and families to meet their dietary needs
- Higher satisfaction with the variety of food they are able to choose
- Less food waste and ultimately less cost of food provided
- Greater opportunities for volunteer, children and families to interact; more social, supportive relationship opportunities
"Food is as essential as any school supply in order for a child to thrive in the classroom." - Z
WHY SCHOOL PANTRIES ARE 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 OUR SCHOOL PANTRY APART FROM SIMILAR PROGRAMS
Schools participating in the program have high levels of participation in the free and reduced-price school meals program, so we know that we are reaching a pre-qualified population in need. Mobile School Pantry operates within various schools, helping to minimize the stigma sometimes attached to food assistance by offering it in a convenient, familiar setting that is already part of families’ everyday lives.
MSP provides a supportive way to help students and their families through tough times, which in turn helps the child become more successful in school. The Pantry provides fresh and nutritious food to families throughout the school year, as well as access to emergency and supplemental food during additional times of need. With our “Client Choice” model – children and families can easily select the produce and dry goods they prefer.