Free Food Pantry in DC Schools | Capital Area Food Bank
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Through no-cost farmers-market-style markets in D.C. elementary schools, the Capital Area Food Bank and Martha’s Table provide children and their families with an easy way to get the nutritious food they need.

Distributing healthy food to kids and families

Joyful Food Markets are pop-up monthly markets held in 53 elementary schools in Wards 7 and 8 in D.C. School families are invited to shop at no cost for a variety of beautiful high-quality produce items, including bananas, apples, greens, and sweet potatoes, as well as basic shelf staples such as pasta and beans. Designed like farmers markets, Joyful Food Markets give children and their families- the opportunity to select from a variety of items and sample a dish made with fresh, market ingredients. Kids can also make their own fruit or vegetable snack at the Joyful Junior Chef Table.

Every child at a Joyful Food Market receives a 15-pound bag of groceries, of which 70 percent is fresh produce, ensuring their families can make nutritious meals at home. And that no one goes to bed hungry.

Features of Joyful Food Markets

Every Joyful Food Market includes:

  • A no-cost, 15-pound bag of groceries that contains 70 percent produce
  • Hands-on cooking demos and nutrition education
  • Music, dancing, and fun
  • A community atmosphere made possible through partnerships

What we’ve learned through the Joyful Food Markets

  • Before visiting a Joyful Food Market, 46 percent of families ran out of food and didn’t have enough money to get more once or twice in the last month.
  • Seventy-two percent of Joyful Food Market families receive SNAP or another government assistance program.
  • Most Joyful Food Market families cook dinner an average of five nights a week.
  • Ninety-five percent of Joyful Food Market families believe that if they improve the way they eat, they will be healthier.
  • Barriers to healthy eating are not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of access and affordability.

Help Food Insecure Children and Their Families

Joyful Food Markets are just one of the many ways we’re helping people throughout the Washington, D.C., region get the food they need. But we can’t do it without the help of our community. Every unrestricted dollar you donate to the food bank provides 2.5 meals. Your help can ensure that good, nutritious food reaches people in need.