Meals for Kids

NEW - Meals for Kids 2011

How We Help Feed Kids

Here's how many of our partners are taking action against child hunger on a local level:

  • Expect More Healthy Kids this Summer... Learn More +

    For many children who depend on school breakfast and lunch programs, no school means no food. Thanks to the Summer Food Service Program, funded by the USDA, all kids 18 and under can access a free, nutritious meal while school is out. This summer Foodshare is partnering with Fox61, Country 92.5, and The River 105.9 to encourage greater participation at these sites, thanks to generous financial support from Stop & Shop and Panera. Learn More >  

    Meals are served Monday-Friday. Some sites offer breakfast and lunch, others just lunch. There is no charge and it’s not necessary to pre-register. Children with disabilities are eligible through age 21. To find a site near you, visit or call 2-1-1.

  • Free school meals... Learn More +

    Both the School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program offer free and reduced-price meals on a sliding income scale. Anyone with a household gross income below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level is eligible. This program is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) but is only offered by schools that choose to participate.

    Sadly, here in Connecticut, participation rates are incredibly low we are last in the nation for the number of schools offering the Breakfast program, but Foodshare Hunger Action Teams are hard at work trying to improve these numbers.

    You can help! The first step is finding out whether or not these programs are available in your school. You can figure that out by visiting or by calling 2-1-1. If there are no school meals programs available in your district, consider recommending one to your school board. Or become involved in our Hunger Action Team work and help establish a program with help from others in your community.

  • An after-school solution... Learn More +

    In March of 2007, The House of Bread partnered with The Boys & Girls Club, Foodshare and ConAgra to open a Kids’ Cafe in Hartford which serves children during after-school programs. More than 5 years later, the program has achieved great success, serving 350 kids each week at four different sites!

    Forty percent of all hungry people in our community are children, so Foodshare knows how important this support is to many families. “This collaborative effort gives parents and caregivers an additional way to ensure that their children receive hot and nutritious meals.” Parents of the children who participate in Kids’ Cafe have reported seeing improvements in their children’s overall health and learning.

    Norman, professional chef and program director, works hard to ensure that all the food served in the Kids’ Cafe is nutritious: roasted potatoes instead of fries or chips, vegetables hidden in sauces, etc. So what do the kids think about all of this? Well, one little boy remarked, “I can smell the food and I can’t wait!” What they don’t know, certainly won’t hurt them.

  • Making it through the weekend... Learn More +

    Two days can feel like forever when you’re hungry, so many programs, like Gifts of Love in Avon, offer backpacks overflowing with food for children in need. Volunteers fill the bags with a variety of nutritious items to help the child, and their family, make it through the weekend. Working in tandem with local schools, the bags are then given discreetly to qualifying children on Friday afternoon. On Monday the children return the backpacks to be filled for the following weekend!

    The backpack program was first piloted in 1995 by Feeding America. There are now more than 3,600 programs operating nationwide which collectively serve over 190,000 children each year!

Battling Child Hunger

While there are programs available to help food-insecure children fill their bellies during school time, many go home to an empty table. To make sure we cover all of our bases, several Foodshare partners are going the extra mile to offer additional help through after-school, backpack and summer meals programs.

Not all towns offer these programs, but many Greater Hartford sites including those in Enfield and New Britain were established with help from a Hunger Action Team. During the summer, these teams are hard at work making sure kids have access to food while school is out. 


Contact Jim Palma, Foodshare's Community Network Builder, to learn how you can become involved and help your hungry neighbors gain access to these crucial programs.