The Mobile School Pantry at Bennion
Utah Food Bank’s newest program, Mobile School Pantry, complements both school meal programs and other childhood hunger programs. It provides a cost-effective food distribution point for children and their families at the end of the school day in a safe and trusted environment—the school playground.
Each month during the school year, their truck arrives at Bennion Elementary where Utah Food Bank staff and volunteers assist students and their parents as they sign in and receive food. The amount of food distributed varies depending on availability of donated and purchased foods. Every attempt is made to provide as many healthy items as possible.
Mobile School Pantry deliveries are only available to the students of that school and their families and are completely free to the schools and their families in need. The growth and impact of this program has been astounding—last year, through distribution at 36 school sites, Utah Food Bank reached 156,696 individuals, 85,776 of whom were children. This year, they are serving over 50 sites!
The Mobile School Pantry program approaches childhood hunger with the understanding that children are only truly protected from the pain and anxiety of hunger when their whole family has enough food to stay healthy. This approach makes the Mobile School Pantry program especially effective. Teachers and school administrators report that this holistic approach creates better educational environments and a stronger sense of community among the student body and their families.
Author: Avan Thayn, Bennion Elementary