Children and Youth Services
Certain times of the year are especially difficult for households with children where resources are already stretched to their limits. The services provided by the Children and Youth Program are designed to help children build positive childhood memories during a time when their family is facing a crisis. In 2012, the Children and Youth Program served over 12,000 children from low-income families through the Summer Youth Food Program, the Holiday Toy Store, Back To School Program and Birthday Bag Program.
The Birthday Bag program provides a way for families to celebrate each child’s birthday without using resources needed to meet their basic needs. Each Birthday Bag contains cake mix, frosting, candles, plates, napkins and one or two small, age- and gender appropriate gifts. Visit our Birthday Bags page to learn how you can help create birthday smiles.
Summer Youth Food Program
VEAP’s Summer Youth Food Program provides groceries for breakfast and lunch to school-aged child needing assistance during the summer months when school is not in session. Pre-packed bags include shelf stable items as well as seasonal produce, bread and milk. Parents are able to provide breakfast and lunch meals for their children, without having to make a choice between paying for food or paying for other basic needs such as housing. Most importantly, children receive nutritious meals throughout the summer. In 2013, over 58,000 meals were provided during the summer youth food distributions.
The Back To School Program distributes grade-appropriate school supplies and backpacks in August for children entering grades K-12. By providing backpacks packed with grade appropriate supplies, VEAP is ensuring all children have the opportunity to start the school year with the same resources. In August 2013, 3,400 students received backpacks and supplies. Please view our Back To School page for information on how you can help equip students with the tools to learn.
In December of each year, VEAP creates a “toy store” for parents to select holiday gifts for their children, infant through age 18. The opportunity for parents to participate in this program eliminates the need for parents to choose between paying the rent and purchasing a holiday gift for their child. Almost 5,000 children received gifts from the VEAP “toy store” in 2012. Find out how you can help create holiday memories by visiting our Holiday Toy Store page.
For more information on any of the Children and Youth programs, call 952.955.8309.