As the current school year comes to a close, 825 elementary school students participating in the second round of Foster Farms' Food 4 Thought program will soon receive their final grocery delivery of the school year (650 in Stanislaus County will receive their delivery tomorrow and the remaining Merced County students receive theirs the week of May 31).

According to a survey of parents whose children took part in the Foster Farms-sponsored program, Food 4 Thought continues to have a positive impact on students both in the classroom and at home. This year's program supported 60 percent more children than last year, reaching 825 elementary students at nine schools in Stanislaus and Merced counties. Participating students logging eight hours in after-school tutoring a week received 15- to 18-lb bags of groceries twice monthly. Needy students in Stanislaus and Merced Counties received more than 260,000 pounds of groceries in the 2010-2011 school year alone.

A recent survey of more than 100 Food 4 Thought parents found Foster Farms' program to be extremely effective:

  • 93 percent reported that Food 4 Thought significantly helped their family's grocery budget, a 23 percent increase from the previous year.
  • 89 percent reported that their child's grades improved as a result of participating in Foster Farms' Food 4 Thought program, a 7 percent increase from the previous year.
  • 90 percent of parents surveyed said the program improved their child's personal life.
  • 92 percent responded that their child's communications skills improved as a result of their participation in the program.

"Food 4 Thought has been a great success with our students and their families, impacting both their school and home lives," said George Solis, principal of Campus Park Elementary, a Merced County Food 4 Thought school. "We are grateful to Foster Farms for continuing this program with our school and helping to build a strong foundation for the children's future."

According to Second Harvest Food Bank in Stanislaus County, the program addresses the need for food donations at a time when demand for food continues to rise – demand has risen 25 to 30 percent while general donations have dropped.

Source: Foster Farms