Article provided by Meleah Boyle, MD Kids Cafe /Weekend Bag Coordinator.
Because so many children in the Washington Metro area rely on the meals distributed at school as a critical part of their health and nutrition, they are often left at risk of hunger over the weekend. The Weekend Bag Program is intended to fill this gap. We work with 35 partner sites across the region to provide over 1,710 school-aged children with a bag of groceries to take home for themselves and their families over the weekend.
Each bag contains 5-7 pounds of shelf-stable food and always consists of at least two kid-friendly snacks and two breakfast items, as well as a meal to supplement the family, which is comprised of a protein, grain, vegetable, and fruit. A sample menu might include two packs of oatmeal, fruit cocktail, spaghetti noodles, meatballs in tomato sauce, tomatoes, green beans, cereal bar and an applesauce cup.
We sometimes hear that parents are not sure what to do with all the bag’s contents, especially the canned fruits and vegetables. To help parents with recipe ideas we will be working with our Nutrition Education Department to provide a monthly recipe card in each bag. The first recipe card was for “chicken pot pie” and our most recent card included “5 ways to use canned corn!” We are hoping that these recipe cards will increase the possibilities of each bag’s contents.