Alleviating child and teen hunger by providing food to students and their families at middle and high schools.
Making the Case for School Markets
One in four southeast Texas children are at-risk of hunger, which means they don’t have consistent access to enough nutritious food. Children need nourishment for success—nourishment of body, mind, and spirit. With this understanding, one of Houston Food Bank’s strategic goals is to provide hunger-relief programs focused on meals for children. To advance this goal, the Food Bank has a number of child hunger-relief programs available—Kids Cafe, Backpack Buddy and School Market.
The School Market program was developed to improve access to nutritional foods to middle and high school students, a vulnerable population that can be difficult to serve as they outgrow programs like Kids Cafe and Backpack Buddy. School Markets are located on campus for easy access, with set distribution schedules. A key feature of the School Markets is that they are staffed by students. These students receive training from the School Market team to perform the various jobs that support the market, such as setting up product for distribution, restocking, and cleaning up the area afterward. Besides being an opportunity for practiced leadership for student volunteers, School Markets provide critical nutrition to older children which results in better grades, improved attendance, and a healthier community.
The Houston Food Bank is looking to partner with schools/organizations that will support students and their families as they work towards healthy, stable lives. HFB School Programs representatives work with partners to monitor, collect and track the progress and outcome of school pantry clients as they journey towards self-sufficiency.
- Agree to designate 2 of your staff members to provide oversite of the student market.
- Agree to provide “core” student volunteers to unload truck, stock shelves, service clients, conduct customer service surveys.
- Agree to the tracking and maintenance of client records with our electronic client data system Link2Feed.
- Agree the food provided cannot be sold, used for other programs, used at fundraisers, given to staff (unless registered as a client), or used for any other purpose other than to provide food to chronically hungry families.
- Brick and Mortar Market must commit for 2 years
- Mobile Market must commit for 1 year.
Her name is Yesmine. The very first time we had our Mobile Food Truck she wandered up and asked us what was going on. She apparently missed the advertising! She walked around the truck and the kids that were volunteering told her about the program. They were essentially selling the benefits of the Freeport Intermediate School Food truck. She got so excited she told me that she was going to sign up and bring food to her mom. This would be amazing because they never had enough food and her mom would be so surprised. She said I don’t care how heavy it is I can make two trips. Yesmine was so excited about the Pantry truck she attended the second training to volunteer with the truck. She hasn’t missed a time. She isn’t the only student excited and thankful. Each Thursday the food truck is scheduled there is a “buzz” of excitement surrounding its arrival. Kids I might have thought too cool or too tough to spend their after-school time helping others. They jump into action to help each other and the neighborhood elderly that have started visiting the pantry. Last Thursday it started raining unexpectedly. Not one student left. Neighbors needed food and they were going to keep this truck open until the end. It was an amazing site. The kids were smiling the entire time despite the soaking rain. We had our biggest turnout to date. We at Freeport Intermediate School are very thankful to have this program.