In the Centennial School District (CSD), 73% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, with 100% of students in three elementary schools qualifying for free lunch. The resulting level of childhood hunger reduces students’ ability to focus on academics and other important activities. This year, the Centennial’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students decided to address this problem of hunger in the community themselves, and established a nonprofit organization to be operated by community members for community members. Centennial FBLA has a long-standing commitment to bringing business and education together while serving the community, making this the perfect venture for them to begin.
Food for Families has established a mobile food pantry/mobile market. The pantry will visit the locations with the greatest need and distribute food at no cost. The pantry will operate as a mobile market, allowing clients to “shop” for the products they need. Food for Families has secured a retired school bus donated by CSD, and transformed it into a mobile food market with the help of Centennial’s manufacturing students. Interior shelving has been installed, with additional tabling to be placed outside of the bus as well. Additional tabling will provide a greater capacity for food distribution and assist clients with limited mobility. Through Food for Families, clients can personalize products based on cultural or dietary needs, in accessible locations.
With the help of the community, Food for Families will focus on “community helping community,” distributing all contributions to our families. Food for Families has been accepted as a partner agency of the Oregon Food Bank, ensuring that the bus will always have the food resources needed for distribution. With multiple community grants already received and the generous donations of community members, Food for Families is on its way to providing accessible and customizable food resource for the Centennial community.