LEARN ABOUT FFT

Mission Statement: To provide nutritious meals to chronically hungry school children in our community

Despite federal and state social service programs, too many children in our community have little or no food on weekends. There are countless reasons for kids to go hungry – homelessness, parents out of work, lack of transportation to food banks or food kitchens, or access to kitchen facilities (such as family living long-term in hotel or car). All of these reasons prohibit children from eating regular, nutritious meals over the weekends. These children then return to school on Monday famished, their last meal being their school lunch from the previous Friday.

Food bags weigh less than five pounds, making them easier for children to carry. The bags are placed in the child’s backpacks in a closed-door meeting, and if the child does not have a backpack we provide one for them.

During the summer months, Food for Thought serves free nutritious lunches to all children ages 2 to 18 years old at a local park. The Summer Food Service Program was established by the USDA to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

In our current economy, more and more children are going hungry. Additionally, the issue is becoming so widespread that the U.S. government has coined the phrase “food insecure.” This term refers to people in situations where they regularly and frequently do not know where their next meal is coming from. A report from the Center for American Progress: Hunger in America was published on October 5, 2011. This report found dramatic issues related to “food insecure” children:

“Children from food insecure households are more likely than their food secure peers to experience higher rates of various forms of educational problems. They are at least 50 percent more likely to miss days of school (1.6 times), nearly twice as likely to be suspended (1.95 times), and almost 50 percent more likely to have to repeat a grade (1.44 times). These and related adverse outcomes are linked to an increased likelihood of school failure, including dropping out of school. These outcomes lead to a greater likelihood of limited employability, lessened workforce productivity, poor judgment and job performance, and $260,000 lower lifetime earnings. Therefore, since food insecurity impedes learning and school performance and ultimately lowers productivity and earning potential, hunger exacts a significant monetary cost.”

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The first day of Summer, the third week of our free summer lunch program and a very special event today for the kids. In addition to the Brewery Arts Center offering Art in the Park to the kids each Monday,Wednesday and Friday today we enjoyed learning about beautiful miniature ponies, a baby goat and some crazy hair chicks. Zoe Cockerill, Director of The Littlest Things brought out her animals for the kids to enjoy. There were lots of wide eyes and questions as the kids learned about the animals. They enjoyed brushing and petting them and exchanged lots of hugs. We were informed of experiences with cartoon ponies and toy ponies, but never real life ponies. This was a great learning experience and for most their first interaction with these types of animals. I am so happy we were able to provide the kids with this experience. Thank you Zoe, Pepper and Dominic for a great time today, we appreciate your kindness. ...

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