Island Harvest Food Bank was awarded a $30,000 grant to advance its Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding program, which provides food for kids who rely on their school’s breakfast and lunch programs but don’t have enough to eat on weekends.
The funds come from the Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program, which aims to educate children about healthy eating habits.
Randi Shubin Dresner, Island Harvest’s president and CEO, says the grant will help provide meals for food-insecure children and their families on Long Island.
“No child should ever experience hunger, yet unfortunately many food-insecure Long Island school children often rely on their school’s free breakfasts and lunches as the only meals they eat during the weekday,” Shubin Dresner said in a statement. “The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidsCents Regional Grant will help us give children in need essential food support over the weekend when school feeding programs are not available.”
Every Friday throughout the school year, Island Harvest discreetly provides food-insecure kids with enough for two breakfasts, two snacks and two servings of milk and juice. This year, the nonprofit added a nutritious meal for a family of four to the food packs.
Shubin Dresner says more than 100,000 children on Long Island qualify for free or reduced-price meals through federal school breakfast and lunch programs.
For the 2018-19 school year, Island Harvest distributed more than 40,000 food packs to 1,200 students in 11 different school districts on Long Island — enough to supplement 246,000 meals, according to the Hauppauge-based nonprofit.
The next round of KidCents grants will be awarded in 2020. Nonprofits interested in learning more about the grants can visit riteaid.com/grants.