To address child hunger by providing packages of healthy food for children suffering from severe food insecurity with limited or no food during weekend periods or summer months.
Food4Kids Ontario is the parent agency overseeing 7 regional chapters in Ontario. The agency was formed in 2012 to address the hidden yet pervasive problem of hunger among school-age children. It became clear to the community that even with food banks and school nutrition programs, some children are hungry over the weekends and during the summer months.
The impact of food insecurity on children is well documented affecting concentration capacity, cognitive development, energy levels, physical growth, school performance, social development, and home life stability. A closer look at food insecurity indicates the limitation of food banks and the mental health effects of food instability. While the impact is enormous with long-term consequences, the solution is simple - providing healthy food directly to children and their families in need.
Food4Kids offers two programs, Weekend without Hunger and Summer Feeding Program, both addressing the challenges of food accessibility in our communities.
Weekends without Hunger Program: Children ages 4-14 years, identified as living with food insecurity, are referred by their schools into the program. At school on Fridays, healthy food packages prepared by teams of volunteers are tucked into the children's backpacks. The distribution method is discreet shielding children and their parents from any stigma associated with hunger or receiving food assistance.
Summer Feeding Program: Children living in severe poverty are referred by their school. Each week, volunteers deliver bins containing a full week's supply of healthy food directly to the children's homes for 8 week summer break.
The difference Food4Kids makes is in its distribution process alleviating barriers families face accessing community food services such as transportation, hours of operation, limits of the quantity or frequency of use, mobility issues, shame, mental health issues, or special diet foods. Our network provides healthy food for 2,800 children every weekend, over 1,000 children throughout the summer months and is sustained through donations or one-time grants.