Franklin Countys First News

School districts prepare students for vacation with healthy snacks

FARMINGTON - With a week-long school vacation on the horizon, Mt. Blue Regional School District staff members are focusing on meeting a need they see frequently among students: a lack of nutritional food at home.

The Backpack Snacks Initiative will provide healthy options for students while away from school- a place where they can count on getting two full meals a day if needed. Gathered by the MBRSD Education Association, staff members throughout the district have been contributing food to the cause, filling the packs to be sent home with students who are identified as possibly in need. School nurses, teachers and other staff members have been submitting the suggestions to program organizers.

"There is a considerable need at the middle school and high school levels," initiative organizer and Cape Cod Hill School Reading Recovery teacher Jen Ladd said.

The program is not the only resource to students living in food insecure situations. Several of the local schools have in-house food pantries available to families, including at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington.

This is the third year the Mallett School food pantry has been in operation, and facilitator/school nurse Katie Hallman said the need has never been greater.

"We have gone from serving 11 families during our first year to serving 50 last month," Hallman said.

The pantry is open once a month, bringing in nearly 2,000 pounds of food, including fresh produce and milk. By the end of the day the food is almost always gone, and any that happens to be leftover is passed on to local Franklin County food pantries.

The program is funded by Good Shepherd Food Bank, with milk contributions made by Oakhurst Dairy.

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2 Responses »

  1. Does this program need volunteers to help pack these snacks for the kids?

  2. Hi Tiffany! I am not sure about packing snacks, but theMallett School food pantry often does not have enough volunteers to meet its need more generally. You can call the office of the United Way to speak with me or my co-worker, Abigail Howell, who does more with Mallett. Either of us might have information that could be helpful to you in finding a place to volunteer!