The Great Plains Food Bank is collaborating with 30 other area hunger-relief agencies as a founding member of the Cass Clay Hunger Coalition to create new hunger-fighting solutions.
The school lunch repack program is one of these solutions. An innovative means to cut down on food waste, the program provides more child-friendly meals to help fill an unmet need.
The school meal repack program pilot launched last year. Three schools repacked unserved hot lunch items to create single-serve frozen meals. The frozen meals were then distributed through the Great Plains Food Bank’s School Pantry program.
In just the first month, an amazing 500 meals were distributed to children experiencing food insecurity.
Amy Riccio, homeless liaison for Moorhead Public Schools, shared that her school joined the pilot because “there are many families who either don’t qualify for [SNAP benefits] or they are on a wait list to get [SNAP benefits].”
For Amber Lockhart, the school lunch repack program coordinator at Northern Cass Public School, removing barriers to access is critical for many students and families who live in a food desert, where food access is severely limited.
“We work on reducing the shame around needing help and making sure things are accessible,” Lockhart said.
The Great Plains Food Bank and the Cass-Clay Hunger Coalition are working to expand the school lunch repack program throughout the Cass-Clay community. For more information, please contact Zoe Absey at zabsey@GreatPlainsFoodBank.org.
Items gathered for a food box at the Husky Hutch School Pantry in Fargo.