Food 4 Thought is an incentive-based program that addresses two fundamental needs – hunger and education. Students participate in eight hours of weekly after-school programs (four academic, four extracurricular) in exchange for a 15- to 18-pound bag of groceries twice a month. In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, Foster Farms brought the Food 4 Thought program to Stanislaus County in 2009. Since then, the program has provided 4,500 Central Valley elementary students with more than 1.3 million pounds of food. According to a recent Second Harvest parent survey, the program is improving students’ diets and lifestyles.
The Food 4 Thought program serves students with the support of major sponsors Foster Farms and Wells Fargo as well as other businesses. The 2015-2016 program serves Agnes Baptist, Chrysler School, Eisenhut Elementary, Empire Elementary, Orville Wright School, Franklin School and Capistrano School in Modesto. County school districts designated these schools on the basis of free or reduced-cost school lunch participation and nutrition-related after-school programs, which are a gauge of food insecurity.
In a survey of parents whose children participated in the latest Food 4 Thought program:
- 95 percent reported that Food 4 Thought significantly stretched their family’s grocery budget.
- 88 percent reported that their child’s grades improved as a result of participating in Food 4 Thought.
- 97 percent said the program improved their child’s well-being.
- 89 percent said that Food 4 Thought helps prevent their child from skipping meals.
“With school budget cuts and the need for nutritional assistance on the rise Food 4 Thought continues to help bridge the gap for students and families in need,’ said Ira Brill, the company’s director of communications. “Foster Farms is committed to making a difference in the communities it serves.”
For more information about Second Harvest Food Bank, visit: www.localfoodbank.org.