Our Thanksgiving Recipe for Tackling Food Insecurity

Education Success Foundation provided 119 students and their families with food baskets

Thanksgiving has become synonymous with abundant feasts. And yet, for hundreds of children and families in our community, Thanksgiving can mean an extended weekend without food.

The holidays can be the hardest time for families struggling with food insecurity and not for reasons you may think. More than one out of every two children living in the city of Rochester live in poverty (household income of $24,300 for family of four). Many of those children rely on the breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks they receive in school and in afterschool programs. Our students are not only missing out on Thanksgiving dinner; on days off from school they’re missing some of the other meals they count on.

This week, we provided food baskets for 119 families in need within our network. Packages delivered to their homes contained Thanksgiving favorites, canned goods, and staples- like bread, peanut butter, jelly, and apples- that kids can eat throughout school recess. Addressing emergency food needs are just part of our recipe for tackling food insecurity, read on below for more on our comprehensive approach.

We’re thankful for caring community members who help us support students both in and out of the classroom.

Children in our programs have extremely high rates of poverty – we serve some of our community’s most vulnerable children and families. Families tell us there is not enough food in their homes, and our teachers share students come to school Monday not having eaten anything substantial since Friday’s school lunch. School vacations - five days off for Thanksgiving, ten over holiday break - can mean as many days without food.

What’s more, our families have identified food insecurity as a barrier to their children’s success in school. They’re struggling to put food on the table, and wrestling with the knowledge that hunger impacts their children’s learning. Within our network, we are striving to replace food insecurity with food access and nutrition literacy. We’re doing this by tackling urgent needs with food baskets over the holidays, working in partnership with Foodlink to provide Curbside Markets at school Family Nights, and by providing an Edible Education program for 100+ kids and families this year.

Our comprehensive plan improves food access, and provides cooking classes, meal planning, family dinners, and community greenhouses and gardens, to help families make the most of their food budgets and prepare healthy meals. Every day.