Island Harvest Food Bank received a $30,000 KidsCents Regional Grant through the Rite Aid Foundation to help support its childhood hunger relief effort through the Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding Program and Summer Food Service Program according to Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of the leading regional hunger-relief organization.
The Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding Program, established in 2006, provides supplemental food support for school children who rely on their school’s breakfast and lunch program, but often don’t have enough to eat over the weekend. The Summer Food Service Program provides healthy meals to children during the summer months when school is not in session. More than 90,000 children on Long Island qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program.
Each Friday during the school year, Island Harvest Food Bank discretely supplies children who are food insecure with packs of nutritious, shelf-stable food, which contain enough for two lunches, two breakfasts, two snacks, and two servings of milk. During the 2017/18 school year, the program distributed 64,000 food packs, supplementing 256,000 meals, to 1,800 kids in 29 schools across 12 school districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
In 2018, the Summer Food Service Program provided access to 200,000 healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks for 8,500 children at 84 sites across Long Island.
“The sad reality is that for many food-insecure schoolchildren on Long Island, the school meals are often the only meals they may eat during the day,” said Shubin Dresner. “Thanks to the Rite Aid Foundation’s KidsCents Regional Grant, we can provide children who rely on their school feeding programs with essential food support over the weekend and during the summer months, when school is not in session.”
The KidCents Regional Grant Program, which provides grants of $15,000-$30,000, significantly expands the reach of KidCents by funding specific out-of-school-time programs focused on children’s nutrition, physical fitness, and academic success. The KidCents program also annually supports a select group of more than 400 nonprofit, kid-focused organizations committed to improving the health and wellbeing of children living in the communities Rite Aid serves and national organizations focused on critical children’s issues, including The Fred Rogers Company, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Folds of Honor.
“We created the KidCents program to ensure that kids have a chance for better lives and brighter futures,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “With the introduction of the KidCents Regional Grant program, we are expanding our efforts even more while filling a need for valuable out-of-school-time programming. In addition, we are enabling our partner nonprofit organizations to implement innovative, ground-breaking programs that advance children’s health and wellbeing and promote academic growth.”
KidCents Regional Grants support nonprofit organizations with programs that serve children, from newborn to 18 years of age, and improve the quality of life in Rite Aid communities. The grants support three of KidCents’ primary focus areas for improving the health and wellbeing of children: healthy eating, active living and education. To be considered, programs and projects were required to take place during out-of-school-time. Priority was given to programs supporting communities in need.
The inaugural cycle of grants launched in May 2018 and was available in select counties in the following states: California, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. Another cycle of KidCents Regional Grants will launch later this year. To learn more about the program visit riteaid.com/grants.
Through KidCents, members of Rite Aid’s loyalty program, wellness+ rewards, can round up their in-store or online purchases to the nearest dollar and give their change to one of more than 400 nonprofit organizations focused on improving the health and wellbeing of children. For more information, visit www.kidcents.com.
Since its inception in 2001, The Rite Aid Foundation has awarded more than $50 million to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Rite Aid, through the efforts of its customers, supplier partners and associates, has also raised more than $87 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country since 1994.