Over the last two years, Feed More’s School Market program has helped feed families in some of the most vulnerable communities we serve. Starting as a pilot program for the 2017-2018 school year, our School Market has grown to include 11 schools in our service area that serve between 50-130 families at each distribution.
Thanks to a federal grant that we received through the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, Feed More has been able to double the program’s efforts this year with additional School Market distributions in Dinwiddie, Hopewell, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Petersburg.
“The success of the program has really been tremendous,” said Ruth Ann Caplice, Manager of Children’s Programs at Feed More. “With the support from the grant we’ve been able to open markets up in new areas that really have a big need.”
The popularity of the School Market program has been steadily growing among school districts across the region. Schools interested in participating continue to reach out to Feed More, while we also work to identify areas that may be interested in hosting our free monthly, farmer’s market-style distributions.
Markets are open to families who have a child attending the school where the distribution takes place. Parents love that there is a big focus on fresh produce with lots of healthy options for students and their family to enjoy. Many of the participating schools have made our distributions a fun and memorable experience with music, games and other helpful community resources like the YMCA and public library, who often have free books and will sign the kids up for library cards.
“The feedback we have received is overwhelmingly positive,” shares Ruth Ann. “Families tell us that these markets have helped them make ends meet when they didn’t know how else to feed their family.”