Feed Branford Kids Expands Offerings
Feed Branford Kids (FBK) treasurer Renee Pantani and program coordinator Vinnie Valentino fill the to-go bags for curbside delivery at the FBK warehouse on March 26. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound)
FBK board member Janice Fowler readies bags for curbside delivery. The items on the table are additionally donated pantry staples that were made available to any one stopping by. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound)
When Branford schools closed on March 16, Feed Branford Kids (FBK) got to work finding a way to continue delivering weekend meals and snacks to 180 kids. The meals are usually placed in the kids’ backpacks to take home from school every Friday.
Soon, FBK was back up and running—and then some. Beginning March 20, with help from Branford Board of Education, school staff are delivering FBK meals to all 180 kids’ homes each week until schools re-open. As of March 23, pre-packed bags for families with kids who aren’t registered with FBK became available for pickup with curbside delivery at two places every week. FBK will keep up the curbside service throughout the school closing period.
Any Branford family with kids can stop in to receive bags from FBK on Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church on the Town Green, and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m., at FBK’s warehouse, 21 Business Park Drive.
“It is a program that is offered to all kids in Branford, no registration is required,” said FBK president Kris Klarman of the adjusted offerings.
On March 26, FBK Treasurer Renee Pantani, board member Janice Fowler, and Program Coordinator Vincent Valentino were practicing safe social distancing in the FBK warehouse while also busily filling bags for curbside service. Each bag contains two servings each of milk and juice, two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks.
Just before 5 p.m., a mom who likely heard about the offering via social media arrived by car for four bags to take away, adding to eight bags already given away before the service officially opened that night, said Fowler.
“We’ve already given away 12, and it’s not even five o’clock yet. The first day we did this, I think we gave out maybe 8 or 10 bags the whole time,” she said.
Pantani said all-volunteer non-profit FBK is relying on monetary donations to keep up the effort. Last week, in addition to accepting donations online at www.feedbranfordkids.org, the group also notified its Facebook followers (@feedbranfordkids) that donations are now also being accepted via a mobile app, Venmo.