At the East Bay Food Pantry and Thrift Shop (EBFP), the Food4Kids (F4K) began as a program to supplement meals for families with school-age children when schools are not in session (weekends, vacations, holidays). There was a significant increase in the use of the program following the expiration of COVID-era SNAP benefits in March 2023 (which came after the end of free school meals for all, in Spring 2022). The number of visits has remained high throughout 2023 (650 kids) and higher into 2024 (450 kids, so far through March). They receive shelf-stable items, and they also can pick up milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, and fresh fruit to help keep their kids nourished and healthy.
Inflation over the past couple years, coupled with increases in visits to EBFP and F4K, has resulted in a significant increase in cost to run these programs – currently F4K program costs $2,900 per month. The Food4Kids budget has more than doubled since 2021, making reliable support even more crucial to ensure that this essential program continues. “Bristol Rotary is such a valued partner in our community. We are grateful for your consistent support”, said Emily Mushen, Executive Director of EBFP, speaking at the Rotary Meeting on April 17.