One in six central Pennsylvania children are at-risk of hunger.
A child’s chance for a brighter tomorrow starts with getting enough healthy food to eat today. Through the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s youth programs we give our children and youth consistent access to enough nutritious food to excel.
“This program helps because it sends me home with food so that when we do get low on food and don’t have enough, I know we’ll have something to eat.”
School Pantries are operated in partnership with schools and are intended to provide a more accessible source of food assistance to students, their families, and the greater school community. Sites are on or near a school’s campus, have set distribution schedules, and offer ongoing food assistance services. School pantries may be student-access or adult-access choice pantries, or may offer a box model. Fresh Express Mobile Distributions may also take place at schools.
Program objectives include:
• Providing nutritious food to food insecure children and families for preparation and consumption at their place of residence
• Distributing food discretely in an easily accessible and safe environment
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank currently operates more than 50 School Pantry program sites throughout our service area, serving more than 4,000 children and families each week.
If you are interested in taking part in the School Pantry program:
Contact the principal or school counselor at your child’s school to find out if the school participates in the program. If your school is not a part of the School Pantry program, direct your school principal or counselor to this website for more information.
Eligibility standards are determined by each school pantry program partner.
Kids Cafe® programs provide free nutritious meals, healthy snacks, and nutrition education to low-income children in partnership with a variety of existing community location such as schools, community centers and civic clubs. In addition to providing meals to hungry children, Kids Cafe® programs also offer a safe place, where under the supervision of trustworthy staff, a child can get involved in educational, recreational and social activities.
This free and prepared congregate feeding program traces its origins to Savannah, Georgia. In 1989, two young brothers were discovered one night in the kitchen of their housing project’s community center looking for food. In response to this glaring example of child hunger, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Coastal Georgia started the first Kids Cafe®. In 1993, Feeding America launched the national Kids Cafe® program.
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank operates Kids Cafe® programs at more than 100 different sites, feeding over 34,000 children.
If you are interested in having your child take part in the Kids Cafe® program:
Contact the principal or school counselor at your school to see if the school or a nearby organization participates in the program. If your school or community organization is not a part of the Kids Cafe® program, direct your school principal, counselor or executive director to this website for more information.
Kids Cafe® sites can be located in any area where more than 50% of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. School-age youth up to the age of 18 are eligible to participate.
The BackPack program is designed to meet the hunger needs of children who rely on school meals to provide breakfast and lunch during the school year. During breaks, such as weekends and holidays, many of these children go home to scant or no meals. This program works to fill that gap by providing nutritious, child-friendly food for school children to take home. Children receive backpacks filled with nonperishable and vitamin-fortified food for the weekend or break.
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank works in partnership with community agencies and schools to ensure the backpacks are distributed to children every Friday throughout the school year. There are currently more than 100 BackPack sites serving nearly 23,000 children throughout central Pennsylvania.
If you are interested in having your child take part in the BackPack program:
Contact the principal or school counselor at your child’s school to find out if the school participates in the program. If your school is not a part of the BackPack program, direct your school principal or counselor to this website for more information.
Eligibility is determined by each BackPack program partner.
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank knows learning doesn’t end when school lets out; neither does a child’s need for healthy, nutritious food. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) allows the Food Bank to partner with churches, community organizations and public parks to provide free, nutritious meals and snacks to children during the summer months. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank sponsors more than 100 summer feeding sites in 14 counties, serving more than 2,300 children each week.
Finding a Summer Meal Program near you:
To located a summer meal site near you, call 1.866.3.HUNGRY, 1.877.8.HAMBRE or call the Food Bank directly at 717-564-1700. You can also text FOOD to 877-877 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All children under the age of 18 are eligible to receive free meals at approved SFSP sites. SFSP sites can be located in any area, rural or urban, where more than 50% of children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches.
If your school is interested in participating in our youth programs or if you have further questions:
- Fill out the online form below.
- A staff member will contact you with any additional steps.