In the summer of 2015, Second Harvest Food Bank served two open enrollment sites at Orleans Parish public libraries. At the Alvar Library in the 9th ward, we served 78 children hot meals and healthy snacks for the three weeks we were in operation. At the Algiers Library of Orleans Parish, we served 291 children in a mere 16 days of operation, capitalizing on their literacy programs that draw children to this public location.
With that first pilot year under our belt, Second Harvest plans to expand to at least two more library locations with a full 10 week program, and the possibility of more weeks if there is demand. Ideal library locations will be in high poverty areas with considerable food insecurity, and a large school age population. Without school breakfast and lunch available in the summer, the importance of reaching these underserved children is immense. Many families can’t afford to send their children to camps or other recreational summer programs, so these open sites are crucial to fill that void.
The beauty of this partnership is simple. The libraries provide a safe, free, enriching environment for children to congregate. There are educational materials, clean restrooms, and adult supervision already in place. When the meals arrive, our Second Harvest drivers set up for service, and record every child that receives a meal and/or snack. Each truck can serve up to 600 nutritious meals per day. We plan to recruit for the summer before the end of the school year, with information provided to nearby schools, churches, and community centers, as well as our own food pantries. Sites can complete a Summer Feeding applicationSummer Feeding application or call (504) 729-2842(504) 729-2842 to contact Second Harvest for more information.