The Redwood Empire Food Bank ensures a healthy start in life by filling the meal gap for at-risk children. Our Every Child, Every Day Initiative operates four robust programs specifically designed to end childhood hunger and fuel growing bodies and active minds. Addressing the nutritional needs of children of all ages and targeting seasonal meal gaps, the Redwood Empire Food Bank provides local families the bounty of fresh produce, nourishing groceries, and healthy meals that their children need to grow up healthy and strong, and stay engaged in school activities.
When schools break for the summer months, thousands of growing children from low-income families in our community lose access to free and reduced-cost school lunches. Summer Lunch fills the meal gap by delivering healthy meals and a variety of enrichment and physical activities to at-risk children throughout Sonoma County.
Due to the shelter in place orders and activity waivers provided by the federal government and California Department of Education, some changes have been made to accommodate families in our Summer Lunch program. Updates to the program include weekly distributions, rather than daily, Monday through Friday. Parents may pick up food without children present and get meals for breakfast and lunch for 5 days.
The Redwood Empire Food Bank’s Afterschool Café program provides children in low-income neighborhoods, and who would otherwise end the school day on an empty stomach, with nourishing food. Nutritious snacks and balanced suppers from a diverse menu of hot and cold entrees are served, accompanied by fresh fruit, vegetables, and milk.
Thousands of children in our region live with the uncertainty of when they will eat their next meal, while their parents struggle to provide ample nourishment to support their healthy development. School Pantry alleviates childhood hunger and bolsters nutritional intake by providing consistent access to fresh, vitamin-dense foods, which fuel growing bodies and active minds.
Distance learning has impacted our ability to reach families for grocery pick up. To accommodate this, some of our grocery distributions are now offered alongside the school meals, oftentimes during lunch between 11am and 1pm. Other distributions have been shifted to a later time, allowing for families to pick up groceries when distance learning is over for the day.
Preschool Pantry is a weekly provision of groceries for families with children attending state funded subsidized preschool programs in Sonoma County. Similar to School Pantry, parents pick up produce and donated food items when they pick their children up from child care. Preschool Pantry is open to all low-income families enrolled in preschool.
It’s like a happy meal, but better
“You know when you go to the store and you ask your mom if you can have the cereal you really want and she says yes? That’s how it feels when I get food from here! I get all this stuff to eat when I’m hungry, it’s like a happy meal, but gooder.”
—5-year-old who was asked about the lunches he received in Sonoma, CA