What is Brookline Thrives? Brookline Thrives is a volunteer-run program that provides free take-home weekend meal packs to school-age children in need. The goal is to reduce the number of Brookline students starting the school week hungry. The program is being piloted in the 2018-19 school year at the Lincoln School. If successful, other Brookline schools will be added in subsequent years.
Brookline Thrives is a Brookline Food Pantry program that works in partnership with the Public Schools of Brookline.
The weekend food packs:
Are available to all families with students enrolled in the Brookline Public Schools.
Can be picked up every Friday during the school year; no proof of financial need is required.
Contain single-serve portions of a variety of non-perishable foods and beverages for two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks; when available, whole fruits and cut vegetables also will be included.
Will have a rotating menu that changes every three weeks to provide variety.
What’s in a weekend meal pack? The specific meal pack contents will vary, and Brookline Thrives will strive to offer packs to meet specific dietary needs, but here's an example of what a meal pack might include:
Cheerios single-serve bowl
Instant Oatmeal packet, maple & brown sugar
Nutrigrain cereal bar
2 shelf-stable 8oz. low fat milk boxes
Macaroni & cheese single-serve cup
Chicken cup of noodles soup
Applesauce cup Fruit – apple and/or orange
Crackers & cheese snack pack
Oatmeal chocolate chip bar
2 8oz. water bottles
Why does Brookline need a weekend food program? In the 2017-18 school year, 13% of all Brookline Public Schools students received free or reduced meals. School administrators believe the actual need is much higher. Economic disparity is rising within Brookline. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of households earning less than $15,000 per year or more than $100,000 per year increased, while the number of households earning between $15,000-$99,000 decreased. The struggle to meet basic needs, including food, has a direct impact on the academic performance of Brookline students.
Food insecurity often prevents children from functioning normally in social settings due to a poorer physical quality of life. Food-insecure students are often not fully engaged in daily activities and have greater difficulty getting along with other students.
How can I help? Brookline Thrives is a volunteer-run organization and your help is appreciated. You can:
Donate – Any amount is appreciated. The average cost of a weekend food pack is $5.80. A donation of $203 gives weekend packs to one Brookline student food for the full school year.
Volunteer – Volunteer shifts are available:
Wednesdays to sort food deliveries into bins to prepare for Thursday assembling
Thursdays to assemble food packs
Fridays to distribute food packs
Mondays to sort through unused meal packs, dispose of perishables and update supply report