The Stop & Shop School Food Pantry program was created after we heard from schools in underserved communities that kids were struggling in school because they were hungry – and many would take food home with them, knowing they wouldn’t be getting enough to eat at night and on the weekends when they weren’t in school. We set out to change this by establishing our first Stop & Shop School Food Pantry in Fall River, Massachusetts, a community where 100% of students receive free or reduced meals - and where much of the student body is homeless. With bi-weekly deliveries of non-perishable staples like rice, peanut butter, oatmeal, and more, this Stop & Shop School Food Pantry now feeds 150 families across 16 schools in the Fall River School District. Since the first pantry, the program has grown to a total of 50 school pantry partners across all five states Stop & Shop operates in, with schools ranging from pre-K to colleges and universities in communities like Boston, the Bronx, and New Haven, CT. With donations of product, supplies, and gift cards, Stop & Shop either helps to establish new in-school pantries – or, supports existing pantries to help them better meet the need. Through this program, Stop & Shop has a direct and measurable impact on the communities it serves, while also meeting the brand’s overall objective of being a leader in the fight against hunger.
Stop & Shop has developed a model of giving that is based on the number of students served by each partner school. Schools are selected for the program based on criteria including the number of students receiving free or reduced meals, number of families in the geography living at or below poverty level, among other criteria, etc. Funding is then determined by the number of students served, which can range from 50 to more than 500 depending on the school’s size. In total, Stop & Shop has invested more than half a million dollars in cash and in-kind contributions to its school food pantry partners. In addition to cash and in-kind giving, Stop & Shop associates volunteer with school pantry partners to assist with distributions and deliveries. Stop & Shop stores that have a school pantry in their community also have donation bins, so the entire community can get involved – and contribute to local students’ success.
The objective of the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry program is to help as many students as possible facing food insecurity across the Northeast. To meet that goal, we seek to partner with schools in underserved communities with a measurable need. We also aim to partners with schools that have the internal or volunteer resources and space to establish and/or run dedicated in-school pantries that students can rely on consistently throughout the schoolyear in order to eliminate the worry around where their next meal is coming from.
The Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program reached a milestone in September 2021 of 50 partner schools. It is our goal to grow this program to 150 schools by year-end 2022. While our donations include gift cards, cash, and in-kind donations of food and supplies depending upon individual school needs, we measure the program’s impact in terms of meals served per week. During the school year, a 36-week timeframe on average, the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry program provides thousands of meals per week to students in need.
The Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program was established to help limit barriers impacting students’ ability to succeed in the classroom. Making sure that they have consistent access to food is a part of that. We’re incredibly proud of the growth of the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program thus far as we work together with schools, colleges and universities to help students perform their best. At Stop & Shop, we’re committed to caring for our communities – and we believe that no child should have to go to school hungry.
Stop & Shop President, Gordon Reid
It’s incredible to think that this time last year I was working on the original application and now we’ve established a pantry with a steady flow of goods for students who need it most. I have so much gratitude for Stop & Shop - which rose to the occasion to help our students be successful. Katie George, University of New Haven, Connecticut