Morgan Stanley Foundation presents $50,000 to Capital Area Food Bank

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morgan-stanWhen the Morgan Stanley Foundation handed me a $50,000  check I was thrilled, of course.  But, it’s not just because $50,000 is a lot of money.

What’s extraordinary and groundbreaking about this award is that we are able to decide how to use the funds in a way that best matches the nutritional health needs of the people we serve.

This grant will help us fund our Family Markets Program, a child hunger initiative that helps to ensure that low-income families have a readily accessible source of healthy and nutritious food to prepare at home.

We do this by setting up market-style food distributions in schools.  When parents come  for a meeting at the school, they have a chance to choose fruits and vegetables they want. They receive recipes and, sometimes, teaching demonstrations.  So far the feedback is terrific.  Both the kids and the parents like the access to fresh food and information about how to prepare it.  The schools are telling us that it is increasing parent-participation in school activities.

The Capital Area Food bank plans to expand from our current  five Family Mareket sites to a total of 16 sites  by June 2014, providing up to 96,000 pounds a month to 3,200 families with school-aged children.

This grant will make a big difference in two schools – one in Anacostia and another in Prince William County.  Ketcham Elementary  in Southeast Washington with 270 students has a new principal, Maisha Riddlesprigger, who is ensuring that ninety families are now receiving food assistance through the market.

The second school is West Gate Elementary School in Manasses, VA across the bridge from a housing complex that has homes occupied by two and three generations of family members including West Gate Bulldog students.  On its first food distribution in November, the school served over 150 families, most of which came from across the bridge.

Through  partnerships with conveniently-located schools,  parents will be able to access fresh food and learn how to prepare it for their families – essential for learning and growth.

This local award to the Capital Area Food Bank is the latest phase of Fill the Plate, Morgan Stanley Foundations’s  long-standing partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity.

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