Each year, the TCSD#1, in partnership with the Fund for Public Education, helps alleviate food insecurity for hundreds of students in Teton County’s public schools. Led by TCSD#1’s Food Services Director, Wesley Clarke, the program encompasses several essential initiatives.
COVID-19 Meal Program: To help ensure that no child goes hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government announced an extension of the Summer Food Service Program through the school year. This program provides free meals to all kids under the age of 19, regardless of whether they are enrolled in public schools or not.
Between March and November, 2020, TCSD#1 served more than 100,000 free meals to kids across Teton County.
Unfortunately the program’s funding does not cover the full cost of providing these meals. In order to ensure that these meals continue, we need to raise more than $200,000 each year. Join us in supporting healthy meals for every child by donating today. 100% of your gift goes directly to supporting free meals.
“It scares me how easily a kid can hide food insecurity. By providing regular meals and good nutrition, we nurture whole-child wellness and help kids succeed.” –TCSD#1 Food and Nutrition Director Wesley Clarke
In a typical school year, more than 20% of TCSD#1 students rely on free or reduced-cost lunches to meet their daily nutritional needs. That’s more than 600 kids. To meet this need, TCSD#1 and the Fund for Public Education offer a number of programs and initiatives, all of which are supported by generous donors like you.
Teton Meal Support: Although state and federal programs provide free or reduced-cost lunches, the unique economic conditions in Jackson (higher wages combined with a much higher cost of living) mean that many families who need help don’t qualify under these programs. Teton Meal Support ensures that every student who needs a free or reduced meal gets it.
School lunch debt: School lunch debt is a major problem for districts across the nation. In Jackson, this debt runs at around $20,000 per year. Thanks to generous donors from the community, and the hard work of participating families, much of this debt can be forgiven each year, easing the stigma and stress that students feel every time they approach the lunch line.
Munger Market: This pioneering program provides free snacks and weekend meals to nearly 200 third, fourth, and fifth grade students at Munger Mountain Elementary School. The market is designed with 3 key purposes in mind: 1) to ensure kids get the meals they need, 2) to reduce the stigma associated with food insecurity, and 3) to help kids learn about positive nutritional choices. Partnerships with local organizations like Hole Food Rescue also help reduce food waste and keep our community green. We look forward to expanding the Market to other schools in the coming years.
Supporting Local Ranchers and Farmers: Working with ranchers and farmers to incorporate locally grown foods into school meals reduces the environmental impact of cross-country food shipments, provides greater nutritional value, and strengthens our local economy.