Food Bank Innovations | Summer Kids Food Market

June 30, 2017

Little did 28-year-old Divon know that a recent visit to a local daycare center would greatly improve her day…as well as her entire summer.

She was heading to Dr. Charles Drew College Prep center in the city’s Bayview neighborhood to see what programs they might have for her precocious two-year-old daughter, Amaya. To her surprise, she discovered the Food Bank’s Summer Kids Food Pantry right on campus.

“I literally had nothing to eat in my house this morning,” said a delighted Divon. “I’m so glad I came by today.”

The single mother beamed as she filled a cardboard box with fresh, healthy food: salmon steaks, summer squash, plums, corn on the cob, and rice. Divon has a full-time job as an in-home care specialist, but paying all her bills – including rent, daycare, and utilities – often leaves her tapped out when it comes to buying food. Now, she plans to return to the pantry weekly.

“We manage to get by somehow…some months are better than others,” she said. “I do remember a stretch not too long ago when I was asking friends for food. I felt badly, but I did what I had to do to protect my daughter.”

The Food Bank started the Summer Kids Food Pantry program in 2016 as a way to help low-income families weather the summer months. It’s a time when many families face even greater challenges to put food on the table because their children lose access to free and reduced-price school meal programs.  In addition, many school-based pantries close for the season.

The first year of this program, we piloted two Summer Kids Food Markets – one in the Bayview, the second in Chinatown – and served over 400 families.  Last year we added a third location in the city’s Western Addition. This year, we’ve added a fourth location – in Potrero Hill. Together, these four pantries are serving over 500 families from 20 different schools.

Another parent visiting the Chinatown pantry recently was Ken, who has two school-aged kids and is a stay-at-home dad after a serious accident. His family just barely gets by, living solely on his wife’s income.

Ken said, “Without the Food Bank during these summer months, I really don’t know what me and my family would do. It really reduces stress knowing we can count on fresh vegetables, fruits and chicken each week until my kids get back to school.”

Do you want to support innovative projects like our Summer Continuation Pantries?  Donate now.