In New Hampshire more than 93,000 people are facing hunger and of those more than 21,000 are children.
Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for assistance and rely on local food banks and pantries for support.
You might not even realize that you have friends or neighbors that are experiencing food insecurity.
The Friends Program utilizes volunteers to build capacity at food pantries, backpack programs and community gardens.
The Friends Program creates solutions to food insecurity by increasing access to food using creative strategies lead by volunteers.
Feed Hungry Kids
We operate a backpack program that distributes food in Merrimack Valley school district feeding 70-80 kids per weekend. Having adequate nutrition over the weekend improves academic engagement.
Deliver Food to Homebound
Sometimes seniors cannot afford the high cost of food delivery services. Using volunteers we are able to deliver food to seniors who would otherwise have to pay a private shopper. Improved nutrition and reduced social isolation promote well-being and independence.
Community Gardens and Gleaning
Growing fresh produce for food pantries and harvesting excess crops are just a few ways that Friends volunteers improve access to nutritious foods.
Build Capacity at Food Pantries
Food pantries rely on volunteer power to re-stock shelves and help patrons fulfill food orders. Food pantries that use volunteers can significantly increase the number of patrons served.
During the school year, this team of volunteers work to stuff backpacks each week for children in the Merrimack Valley School District who might otherwise be hungry over the weekend. It is truly a community effort as they gather food with the help of donations from the public, the NH Food Bank and Friends of Forgotten Children and then work with the guidance counselors to distribute the stuffed packs those in need discreetly to reduce any stigma for the kids. We are humbled and grateful for their effort to make sure all of the children are ready to learn!