Bridging the Gap - Cook Inlet Tribal Council
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Bridging the Gap

Through a partnership with The Children’s Lunchbox, CITC helps feed local families

Pantry Packs from The Children’s Lunchbox contain food to prepare a meal for a four-person family. The Children’s Lunchbox has partnered with CITC to help get food to hungry families.

Most years, The Children’s Lunchbox distributes around 400 – 500 “pantry packs” to Anchorage schools. The packs contain shelf-stable foods that create a meal for a family of four. The Children’s Lunchbox makes them available to schools and organizations to help alleviate food insecurity among local families.

This year, the organization will provide nearly 1,000 pantry packs to requesting schools.

“The price of food has really skyrocketed lately, so we’ve seen an increase in need among our families,” said Nicole Hunter, a program manager for CITC’s Child and Family Services home visiting programs.

CITC programs also use meal kits from The Children’s Lunchbox to feed kids in afterschool programs.

This year, CITC has partnered with The Children’s Lunchbox to make pantry and meal packs available to those who use CITC services.

For many families, the packs help bridge the gap when other support has run out.

“Sometimes there’s a delay in receiving food stamps or Tribal Temporary Aid for Needy Families payments, so that’s when these meals can help fill in,” said Krystal Kompkoff, senior manager with CITC Employment and Training Services.

All four core service departments at CITC requested pantry packs for their participants.

Through the home visiting programs, Child and Family Services staff bring pantry packs straight to the families for whom they mentoring and child development activities. Of the 45 families involved in the Ch’anik’en home visiting program, ten have received pantry packs.

One family immediately “tore into” a box the moment Nicole presented it to them; they made the macaroni and cheese from the pantry pack right away.

“It was wonderful to see the looks on their faces,” Nicole shared. “They were genuinely appreciative. Being able to share these meals in the homes of our participants also strengthens the relationships between families and their mentors. It takes a certain level of trust for families to let us know, I do need food; can you help?

Prior to receiving pantry packs, CITC regularly relied on meal kits from The Children’s Lunchbox to help feed kids in afterschool programs like Schoolyard. The meal kits offered ready-made meals usually consisting of a sandwich, fruit, snack, and drink, all for just $5, a fee covered by CITC.

“I like that The Children’s Lunchbox expanded beyond providing lunch to kids to meals for the whole family,” said Krystal.

Through partnering with organizations like CITC, The Children’s Lunchbox is helping to alleviate food insecurity among Alaskan families.

“We want to feed all the kids, so any kid we think is going hungry, we want to make sure they eat—doesn’t matter where they’re at. We’ll bring them food,” said Aaron Dollison, Food Service Operations Manager at Bean’s Café.

The Children’s Lunchbox is a program of Bean’s Café, and CITC is proud to collaborate with our community partners to help feed families. Learn more about The Children’s Lunchbox here. Or visit the CITC website for additional information about CITC’s programs for families and children.