Thanks to funding from the Anoka County Children and Family Council (ACCFC), Anoka-Hennepin School District staff and volunteers from the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s Faith and Community Partnership have been able to deliver “summer lunch boxes” to families in need.
“Since students don’t have the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch at school, summer can be a tough time for students and families experiencing economic hardships,” said Karrie Schaaf, Anoka-Hennepin’s homeless youth and families liaison.
The Anoka-Hennepin School District and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have responded to this concern by offering free meals to all children ages two to 18.
A bagged brunch is provided at Anoka Middle School for the Arts and bagged lunches are available at Evergreen Park and Franklin elementary schools and Coon Rapids Middle School.
Students do not have to attend these schools to receive the free meals. (Distribution times and days are listed on the district’s website at www.anoka.k12.mn.us.)
Schaaf said the summer lunch boxes provided through ACCFC with the help of Cub Riverdale, help families who cannot get to the summer meal sites or who need additional food to get through weekends.
Families who received the boxes were identified by calling the Anoka-Hennepin Cares Summer Support line (763-433-4695) or are known to be experiencing homelessness and living at area motels.
Families were also identified through summer programs at Adams and Mississippi elementary schools hosted by the Anoka-Hennepin School District and the Faith and Community Partnership.
About 130 boxes of food, each worth about $100, were distributed July 11 and 19 at apartment buildings in Coon Rapids as well as the district’s Family Welcome Center at the Coon Rapids Family Mall.
The boxes included items such as peanut butter, cereal, granola and basic hygiene items as well as a gift card from Cub to purchase perishable items.
Schaaf said staff at Cub Riverdale worked to create a cost-effective lunch box that would benefit families during these summer months.
Mark Matson, the store manager, donated staff time to order and assemble the summer lunch boxes as well as the boxes to pack the items.
In addition to working with the school district on the summer lunch boxes and food donations at the holidays, the store also works with local food shelves.
“Cub has been part of this community since the first day it opened,” Matson said. “The community has been great to us and as community leaders we feel we should give back.”