Channel One Food Bank teams up with Rochester Public Schools

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(ABC 6 News) – Channel One Food Bank and Rochester Public Schools are teaming up to tackle hunger in our area.

This school year the pair will connect students and their families with Channel One’s full-service food offerings.

Expanding access to food services couldn’t come at a better time. One in every 10 Minnesotans experiences hunger.

That’s including children, according to the Minnesota Hunger Initiative. And that number is only growing with ongoing inflation.

Channel one says it’s seen a 40-percent increase in shoppers this summer alone. That’s even higher than what they saw during the pandemic.

In working with RPS, they say free school lunches, SNAP, food stability boxes, and even a grocery delivery service can be provided to the students and their families in need.

“It’s really a communication line between channel one, the school district, and the families. Knowing that we often have direct contact with families,” said RPS Executive Director of Community Education Amy Eich.

Channel one will be training school staff on how to help students and their families get access to these services. Channel One Executive Director Virginia Merritt says, “we want to give these caring adults the tools they need to get families enrolled in benefits to make sure they have enough food at home and then to have some emergency food at the schools for when families need food now.”

Even though channel one has been very busy the past few months, they still knew there were more people in need. And wanted to expand their partnership with RPS to not just students, but their entire families.

“I think it’s just great to go where the kids are and connect with them in the space that they are. Our teachers know the families that are in need around the community. So I think that’s a great way to partner with and get connected with the families that need it,” said Rochester resident Kelly Malewicki.

Jaimie Hollander is a parent and says it is nice to live in a community that’s looking out for every one of its members. “Not to say that we’re doing ok now, doesn’t mean anything could happen in the future. So, knowing that these programs are set up is really huge. So it’s good to know that there’s support there. And sometimes you want to do more and help more and it’s just to know that somebody is,” said Hollander.

If you want more information on these services contact:
Channel One Food Bank- (507) 287-2350
Rochester Public Schools- (507) 328-3000