Child Nutrition Programs


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Of the approximately 127,000 people that receive emergency food from the FoodBank’s network, 40 percent are children. This means that at least 51,000 children in our communities are at risk of hunger throughout the year.

Backpack Program

When children are in school, they get at least one nutritious meal a day through the School Lunch Program. But weekends and holidays can be a tough time for kids without enough food at home. In households where children must take turns eating meals – or even go a day without a meal – they return to school hungry on Monday.

The Backpack Program feeds chronically hungry school children in 18 local schools by providing them with a backpack of nutritious, easy-to-prepare food. Backpacks are usually filled on Fridays or before school vacations.

Kids Café

Students in our Culinary Training Program work beside FoodBank chefs to prepare 100 daily hot meals for children at after-school programs at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Asbury Park and Red Bank.

For at-risk children, a hot meal and homework help in a safe and nurturing environment can result in improved concentration and study habits, better health, greater self-esteem and academic achievement.

Summer Meals

During the summer when school is out, children do not have access to School Lunch and Backpack programs. Without access to these critical nutrition programs, summer can be a Season of Hunger for children from low-income families.

The Summer Food Service program provides free breakfasts and lunches to low-income children attending summer recreational programs. An average of 497 vulnerable children participating in 15 recreational programs receive nutritious meals daily throughout the summer months.