Kids Stimulus Package: Fighting for Children's Food Security
*UPDATE! As of 3/1/21, the Kids Stimulus Package program has now reached $148,000 in critical funding sent to school meals programs in our area!
The Kids Stimulus Package program is a new program addressing food insecurity by ensuring that school feeding programs are able to meet the growing need to provide meals.
The issue of food insecurity has become a big focus here at Dean’s Beans during the pandemic. With early news about schools continuing their meal programs, we contacted area schools to find out exactly how many students were being fed. The numbers were staggering, and led to more conversations with school officials, third-parties and meal program staff. Each question we asked peeled back another layer, and led to more exposure of a system completely overwhelmed by need. Every school district operates differently and serves varying numbers of children. But one thing remains consistent – these meals programs are overextended and underfunded.
What's more is that these children aren’t going to be food secure once the pandemic is over. So we asked ourselves, what can we do to address this, and have real, meaningful impact here? The result of that questioning is the “Kids Stimulus Package” – a new program addressing food insecurity by ensuring that school meals programs are able to meet the growing need to provide food. Adults got stimulus checks, banks got stimulus, small business and corporations got stimulus – what about the kids? Their worlds have been turned upside just like ours, and kids should not have to worry about where they are going to get their next meal!
Right now, the program is focused on providing critical funding to schools to ensure they can keep these programs going. However, we are in conversation with many school districts to identify what other needs exist, and what obstacles lay before them.
The Kids Stimulus Package program is just getting started!
What Can I Do?
The best news is that YOU CAN DO THIS, TOO! In fact, we encourage you to copy us. Go into your own communities, especially if you're not local to us, and create your own Kids Stimulus Package! How? Start with your local school.
- Ask how many meals are they serving.
- Find out how many MORE meals they are serving now, and are they going to continue throughout the summer
- Ask how they are getting their funding, and what the overages or shortfalls are.
- Then figure out what you can do - give money (even $20 means a number of meals!), volunteer your time, offer to drive or pick up supplies.
There are plenty of great non-profit organizations doing this work too, of course - like Growing Place, Project Bread and your local food bank. But if you want to go direct like we always do, contact your local school!
Thank You to the Schools
We would like to thank the following schools for their monumental efforts to keep children fed during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Ralph C Mahar High School and Orange Elementary
- Athol Royalston Regional School District
- Gardner Public Schools
- Narragansett Regional School District
- Greenfield Public Schools
- Amherst-Pelham Regional School District
- Gill-Montague Regional School District
- Springfield Public Schools
- Quabbin Regional School District
Get In Touch With Us
We are throwing our whole energy behind this program right now, and we are working hard to figure out what that means for the long term. We are going to apply our People-Centered Development model here in our own community, to ensure this program meets the needs in a meaningful, direct way.
If you have any feedback, ideas, suggestions or thoughts, please send them our way! Email or give us a call - 978-544-2002. We would love to hear from you.
Stay tuned and stay safe.