In 2013, Lowe’s donated their time and supplies to build an area in our pantry where children will be educated on nutrition and serving sizes while independently choosing snacks for school and food for their weekends. The Kids Corner is the second part of the Food4Kids Programs. Families from the Backpack Program who join our pantry be able to have their children shop in the Kids Corner, and the child will then be graduated from the backpack portion of the program. This will create an open spot for another child at that school. Children ages 3 to high school age are able to choose from nutritional, single serving items for school snacks and weekends. Volunteers staff the area to assist with their shopping and educate each child about healthy, balanced nutrition and the importance of staying active each day. On average children receive 5 lbs. of food from the Kids Corner. In June 2017, the Kids Corner was remodeled and generously donated by RH Design Build and Service League of Oshkosh. The Kids Corner is now twice the size of the original space, open, inviting, and has been reimagined.
Fresh produce items are now offered to every child that visits as well as, grains, dairy, vegetables, fruit, and proteins. All items are single serving size and focus on MyPlate nutrition. On average 230 children visit the Kids Corner each month and receive about 5 lbs. of food. Our hope with the Food4Kids programs is to foster independence and healthy choices in these children, as well as destroying negative stigma about the use of food pantries and assistance programs.
School Pantry Program
The Oshkosh Area Community Pantry, with the guidance of the Oshkosh Area School District, has created the School Pantry Program. School Counselors and Social Workers identify the highest need areas and OACP provides the snacks and easy-to-serve foods for distribution. Pantry volunteers package food in special totes, then deliver it to individual schools using our van. Feedback on this program has been positive, with OASD staff members telling us more kids are being served with foods they prefer to eat including fresh produce they have never been able to try before. The School Pantry Program replaces the “Backpack Program” managed by the pantry for several years. The current program allows us to work more closely with school staff to better identify and reach the children with the greatest need. We look forward to helping this program grow.