As summer draws to an end, Labor Day has come and gone, it is time for excited (and not-so-excited) kids of all ages to get back to school. It’s also a time for families to wonder what kind of school year they will be facing. With so much still up on the air, children and their parents hope to experience as normal of a schedule as possible.

From kindergarten on up through college, students face more masking, continued social distancing, challenging sports and activity seasons, and for many required vaccination. When all they really want is a return to normal, and now more than ever our kids need more normalcy.

Beyond these issues, many children and families are still struggling financially through the pandemic. Luckily, many qualify for the free or reduced breakfast and lunches through the school. And we encourage families to use these services if they can to help their children stay fed through the school day and have the nutrients they need to stay healthy and alert during class.

But what about beyond the school day? What happens during those afterschool hours, holidays, and weekends?

For families who struggle to keep healthy food in the house during these off-school times, MADF’s Eloise’s Cooking Pot Food Bank offers prepacked food boxes delivered to ten Tacoma area schools for parents to receive both when they drop off and pick their kids up from school.

Each box contains healthy choices for children to enjoy, including fresh produce. Nutrient packed foods not only help children grow strong, but help their immune system, which is critical in this time of COVID-19 and as we head into flu season.

Also, the healthy food children and families receive help their brains function better. Numerous studies have shown how poor nutrition and hunger affect children and their school attendance and performance. While research is always ongoing, data from these studies suggest that students with better nutritional habits and access to healthy food are better able to learn, have better school attendance, the behavior improves, and they cause fewer disruptions in the classroom.

And not only does good nutrition increase brain function for learning, but nutrition has links to mental health challenges like ADHD, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders – issues many children are experiencing at a higher level, especially in these times of the pandemic.

MADF is committed to providing the food kids and family need to help them succeed in life. We highly encourage any families with school-age children to stop by and get a box of food at one of the school locations to help get them through non-school hours. Contact us at 253-212-2778 for more information on locations and pick up times.