A $25,000 grant from No Kid Hungry will help some local parents send their kids to bed with full stomachs.
Parkview Health received the grant and will use it to provide monthly boxes of produce and shelf-stable food to 100 immigrant and minority families with children younger than 5. Pregnant women will also qualify for assistance.
Each box will include three meal kits with recipes, as well as feeding and food storage tips. Families will also be connected to local food banks or food assistance programs as needed, according to a news release.
Michelle Bojrab-Wray, Parkview Health's lead community outreach dietitian, said the goal is to provide more than healthy food.
“We want to teach families about cooking, feeding and food storage to help them make use of every item in the box,” she said in a statement. “We know that good nutrition is crucial to giving children a healthy start in life. With these boxes, we want to teach families that healthy, tasty meals are possible, even on a limited budget.”
The first group of 50 families started receiving boxes in June and will continue the program for five months. Another group of 50 families will begin receiving boxes in December. The families are being identified through referrals from Parkview's community health workers and the Early Childhood Alliance.
The grant comes from No Kid Hungry, a campaign from the national nonprofit Share Our Strength. The organization is awarding $3 million in grants focused on helping young children because last year 40% of parents reported job or income loss related to the pandemic, and more than 1-in-5 parents reported food insecurity in their household.
Caron Gremont, No Kid Hungry's director of early childhood, said lack of access to healthy foods affects young children's health, behavior and ability to learn in the short and long term.
“These flexible, year-long grants will help organizations provide healthy food to young kids and their families at this critical time,” she said in a statement.