Feeding Hungry Families through the pantry pack program
It began as an urgent need when schools closed as a result of COVID-19, but even now The Children’s Lunchbox is distributing or partnering with other agencies to distribute pantry boxes to food-insecure children and families. Families who are making difficult decisions between paying bills and purchasing groceries, families awaiting SNAP benefits, families who are uncertain of where their next meal will come from.
Each pantry box provides a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal for a family of four and are given out in multiples to feed entire families. The below distribution sites are open sites (available to anyone).
Pantry Pack distribution locations and times are as follows:
- Lighthouse Fellowship, Mon, Wed, Fri, 3–3:45 pm
- Loussac Place (NOT Loussac Library), Mon, Wed, Fri, 3–4:15 pm
- Spenard Rec Center, Mon, Wed, Fri, 3–3:45 pm
- Fairview Rec Center, Mon, Wed, Fri, 4–4:45 pm- Back of building
- Penland Park, Thursdays 2:30 - 4:00 pm
Food donations for our pantry pack program can be dropped off at Bean’s Cafe warehouse located at 1524 Ship Avenue. Donation hours are Monday - Friday 9 am – 4 pm.
Updated 5/11/2023- The schools and special programs we currently provide pantry boxes and/or fresh meals to enrolled students only are:
- Mountain View Boys and Girls Club
- CITC & CITC Schoolyard
- Ridgeline Terrace
- Hmoob Cultural Center
- Safe Harbor
- Power Youth Center
**If you are interested in assembling pantry packs at home, please message firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide detailed instructions for you. The list of meal/food ideas are available here though we do encourage creativity. As long as each serving will feed a family of four, we welcome your meal ideas.
Along with the funds to purchase food, items for pantry packs (especially breakfast) are our most urgent need.
You can donate monetarily direct from our secure website and designate The Children's Lunchbox.
Our Tax ID number is 92-0072522
Many parents are consumed with worry about how to feed their children. And the need to feed entire families continues to grow. We know many of our families are already on the edge or barely making it.
Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap estimates that in 2020 32% more Alaskans needed food assistance than before – that’s 125,650 people, including 47,800 children (an increase of 44%). This brings our estimated food insecurity rate in Alaska to 17% overall or 1 in 6. For Alaska’s children, the estimated food insecurity rate is now just over 26%, more than 1 in 4.
The Children’s Lunchbox stepped up in March 2020 to make sure no child went hungry in Anchorage and we’re still hard at work. We have distribution sites for prepared meals for kids (dinners and a snack) as well as pantry pack boxes. The pantry pack boxes provide a shelf-stable meal for a family of four.
Your $10 can feed a family of four for an entire meal.
The Children’s Lunchbox History
In 1998 Kid’s Cafe, a non-profit organization feeding at-risk children in the Anchorage area was in search of a stable, responsible board of directors. Bean’s Cafe immediately realized that its mission of feeding the hungry should extend to the children of our community. Bean’s Cafe board members realized that many of the poorest children in our community are at risk of not having their daily nutritional needs met. While hunger affects people of all ages, it is particularly devastating for children. Even short-term episodes of hunger can cause lasting damage to a child’s development, putting children at risk for a range of cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and physical problems. When children receive the nutrition they need, they are more likely to move out of poverty as adults. This sparked a vision of “prevention” and Kids Cafe became a program of Bean’s Cafe.
In 2004, Bean’s Cafe renamed Kid’s Cafe to The Children’s Lunchbox as what started as a few hundred meals a month being delivered to a few programs quickly turned into a few hundred meals a day.
The addition of summer food programs as well as weekend food and pantry programs has only strengthened our work to assure no child is hungry. In 2019, The Children’s Lunchbox provided more than 300,000 meals to hungry children in Anchorage.
New sites and programs are added regularly as we work to feed every hungry child in our community. Our newest addition is the school food pantry/pantry box.