Putney Foodshelf’s new program at Putney Central School, “Food4Kids,” has been incredibly successful so far this school year. Participation in the Food4Kids food shelf has been quite high, with nearly 70% of students impacted by the program. Modeled after Guilford Central’s food shelf program, Food4Kids offers free food to all students one day each week. The program is generously organized and staffed by volunteers from the town food shelf and Putney families have been extremely supportive. According to Executive Director of the Putney Foodshelf, Hannah Pick, Food4Kids’ success is in large part due to the incredible collaboration of school faculty & staff, administrators, families, and Foodshelf volunteers.
Food4Kids is a member of the Vermont Foodbank and has received a wide variety of products to offer its students this fall, including things like cereal, canned soups, and other snacks. Foodshelf staff make it a point to include items that meet students’ dietary restrictions as well as a few fresh items each week, such as apples and carrots for snacking. Older students at the school have engaged in food shelf operations by volunteering to stock shelves and keep things tidy. Favorite items so far have been apples, granola bars, canned fruit, fresh produce, and mac and cheese. Hannah mentions that “The kids love coming to Food4Kids. It’s so heartwarming to see. Many parents have told us that their kids are proud of the food they’ve chosen, and some have been inspired to try cooking at home”.
Other school-based food shelves in Windham County include Food for Kids at Guilford Central School and Leland & Gray’s food shelf for middle and high school students in Townshend. Whenever possible, school food shelves offer local items to students, including items like squash and apples.