The Children's Lunchbox
"Feeding hungry children in safe community environements."
In 2000, the Food Bank of Alaska identified the quickly growing number of hungry children in Anchorage and gathered community leaders and organizations to address the problem. At that time there were around 10,000 hungry kids, since then that number has nearly tripled to a whopping 24,000 children. During the first community discussions Bean’s Cafe was identified as a valuable resource with a wealth of knowledge on reaching the hungry.
In 2004, Bean’s Cafe’s board of directors formed a new non-profit, Kid’s Cafe, and began providing snacks and meals to local community programs. In 2006, Kid’s Cafe merged with Bean’s Cafe officially and was reborn as the program now known as The Children’s Lunchbox! Since its inception The Children’s Lunchbox has expanded exponentially, providing prepared meals and snacks to a number of schools and community programs year round.
In 2009 The Children’s Lunchbox introduced the “Just a Little Extra” weekend food program that provides a bag containing three shelf-stable, easy-to-prepare meals for students to take home on Fridays. The program started at Mt. View Elementary and has since grown to include seven Title I elementary schools in Anchorage.
During the school year, prepared meals are provided to Alaska Native Heritage Center, several YMCA locations, Parachutes Teen Club, CITC programs, Chester Valley Tutoring, Denali Family Services, Salvation Army, Project P, and Alaska Youth Advocates POWER program.
During the summer, prepared meals are proved to a majority of the same programs, as well as the Spenard and Fairvew Recreation Centers, Goose Lake Park, Girl Scouts, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, and Muldoon Community Assembly. Additionally, a hot dinner is prepared from scratch each weeknight all year to both the North East and Mt. View Boys & Girls Clubs.
Since its beginning as a community collaboration, The Children’s Lunchbox program has been built on a model of partnership. Our dozens of partner sites provide safe and enriching environments where a diverse group of children from around Anchorage enjoy their meals each day. Contributions from thousands of generous individuals throughout the community have made it possible for this program to thrive and to continue to serve the hungry children that deserve our support.