More than 20% of children in the U.S. live in a food insecure household, according to the USDA. Children who go to school hungry are more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, have increased social and behavioral problems and have lower college graduation rates and lower chances of earning a degree. That’s why Stop & Shop established its School Food Pantry Program in 2019, so kids don’t have to go to school hungry and can do their best work. The program helps reduce barriers impacting students’ ability to succeed in the classroom by ensuring they have consistent access to nutritious, culturally relevant food and personal care items. The program even ensures children have access to meals outside of school in the evenings and on the weekends. To make it all happen, Stop & Shop provides gift card and product donations that support local schools ranging from pre-K through college with their existing food pantries or by helping them establish a new food pantry. Stop & Shop has also teamed up with the Boston Red Sox to support its School Food Pantry Program, with a pledge to Strike Out School Hunger. For every Red Sox strikeout during regular season home games, Stop & Shop will donate 10,000 meals (yes – ten thousand for every strikeout) to support our school food pantries. This will amount to 10,000,000 meals donated annually.
To date, Stop & Shop has donated more than, $1,000,000 to support in-school pantries at more than 130 schools across the Northeast. . Our support is given in the form of product deliveries or Stop & Shop gift cards for the school to shop for the most-needed items for their students and families. We will grow the program to 150 school food pantries by year-end, and each pantry has a partner Stop & Shop store location where customers can offer support by purchasing items for the donation bin. The schools we work with have a high number of students facing food insecurity. We partner with each school to determine a model that will work best for their community (examples: filling backpacks, open-door food pantry, etc.). The school must have a team of staff and/or parent and student volunteers who run the food pantry, and there must be adequate designated space at the school to store the food.
Stop & Shop School Food Pantries nourish students from pre-K through college with healthy food and personal care items. The program not only feeds kids, in many cases, we’re feeding entire families living in shelters or battling homelessness, without consistent access to food. Each of our 400+ stores will have a partner School Food Pantry in their community by 2027 as we pursue our goal to help ensure no child as to go to school hungry.
To date, the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program is active in five states, more than 130 schools, and serves nutritious, culturally relevant food to more than 20,000 families each month. We are meeting a critical need in the community by addressing food insecurity among students, helping to set them up for success in school in beyond.
“Making sure kids have consistent access to food is the reason we created the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program. We want to limit the barriers that can impact a students’ ability to succeed and help them to build better futures,” said Gordon Reid, President of Stop & Shop. “By teaming up with the Boston Red Sox, we're getting the baseball and broader New England community involved in the cause - to shine an even brighter spotlight on the pressing issue of childhood hunger.”
”The Clarence Witherspoon School (CWS) community has benefitted greatly from the ongoing support provided by Stop & Shop. In the early stages of our pantry, one of our families fell victim to a home invasion and lost many of their valuables. The CWS Community Food Pantry was able to step in and provide that family with additional food and support to get back on their feet. With over 80 families served on a bi-weekly basis, we continue to provide support to the underserved population of South Ozone Park. Stop & Shop has allowed our school to redefine the word “community” and welcome those in need into a space free of judgement and filled with genuine sentiment. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impair our country, the CWS community Food Pantry has and will continue to be a beacon within our school and community. -Sasihana McIntosh, Social Worker P.S. 045 Clarence Witherspoon Queens, NY