Good Life

Helping Hands: State College food bank keeps students fed at home this summer

Last year’s Kids Bag program was wildly successful at the Food Bank of State College Area, so we’re bringing it back this summer — this time with a fresh fruit component as we strive to offer healthier options for our clients.

The Kids Bag program was established in 2013 to ensure that 37 percent of the clients we serve — children younger than 18 — have access to nutritious food while school is not in session. Many of our client families benefit from free or reduced-cost school lunch programs during the school year but need a little extra boost while their kids are home. Last year 275 local children benefited from the program with a total of 519 bags being distributed, and we anticipate that we’ll serve even more this year.

Through the Kids Bag program, families with children are provided with an additional bag of food in June, July and August. Each bag contains meals and snacks that the kids can easily prepare while their parents or caregivers are working, for example: peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, fruit cups, baby carrots and granola bars. This year we plan to include apples with each distribution, which will give our youngest clients a health, fresh and easy snack selection.

Each Kid Bag costs the food bank roughly $15.50. In 2014, the food bank received partial funding for this program with grants from Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Soroptimist International of Centre County.

The State College food bank’s mission is to provide food security, directly or indirectly, to people in Centre County. It distributes groceries to qualified households in need once every 30 days for a maximum of 12 visits a year. Clients choose items from the grocery shelves with the aid of a grocery assistant volunteer and receive a supply of groceries sufficient for one to two weeks.

Besides regular distribution and the additional Kids Bags, the State College food bank provides groceries for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. In 2014, 784 unique households (includes households of all sizes) visited the Food Bank of State College Area, a Centre County United Way Agency, for a total of 3,820 visits. Of the 2,100 individuals served, 37 percent were children younger than 17 and another 11 percent were older than 60.

To learn more about the State College food bank or to donate, visit