What We Do
Growing Healthy Kids
Our Growing Healthy Kids initiative includes the Healthy School Pantry Program & Food Literacy in Pre-school and provides emergency food to hungry children in our community. Over 70% of all children in Lee County Schools are eligible for free or reduced lunch. In the hardest hit areas, rates are as high as 98%. Many of these children go without food after school and on weekends until they return on Monday. Lack of food is also a problem during school holidays. To address this need, Community Cooperative partners with local schools and volunteers to implement the Healthy School Pantry Program & Food Literacy in Pre-school (FLIP).
Healthy School Pantry Program
The Healthy School Pantry Program is a mobile, on-site school food pantry serving high-need schools in Lee County. The program is an effective approach to meeting the hunger need of the entire family. Non-perishable food is provided in addition to fresh food including fruits, vegetables, produce and meat. If a student qualifies for Free or Reduced Lunch, they are eligible for the program. The goal of the school pantry program is to provide not only food but connections to additional services for the family in order to achieve long-term solutions to hunger.
Without the school pantry program, these children would not get the nutrition they need to thrive! Experts agree that good nutrition during childhood is critical to a child’s ability to learn. When children miss out on eating key food groups, they are deprived of essential nutrients needed for optimal cognitive functioning. We feed the brain so the brain is ready to learn come Monday morning.
Food Literacy in Pre-school (FLIP)
Food Literacy in Pre-school (FLIP) provides pre-school children with education about how to make healthy food choices. Volunteers teach a lesson based on a piece of produce. Students are taught about where food comes from, how it is grown, and recipes for using the produce in healthy snacks. The snack and produce are taken home by the children. Periodic meetings with family members also occur so the entire family can learn together and achieve positive outcomes.