The Children’s Lunchbox History

In 2000, the Food Bank of Alaska recognized the problem of the quickly growing number of hungry children in Anchorage and gathered community leaders and organizations to address the problem. At that time there were around 10,000 hungry kids, since then that number has more than doubled to over 22,000.

During the first community discussions Bean’s Cafe was identified as a valuable resource with a wealth of knowledge on reaching the hungry. In 2004, Bean’s Cafe’s board of directors formed a new nonprofit, Kid’s Cafe, and began providing snacks and meals to local community programs. In 2006, Kid’s Cafe officially merged with Bean’s Cafe and was reborn as the program now known as The Children’s Lunchbox.

In 2009, The Children’s Lunchbox introduced a weekend food program at Mt. View Elementary – and since then has grown to include eight Title I elementary schools in Anchorage. New sites are added regularly as we work to feed every hungry child in our community. 


TCL reaches hungry kids in a variety of ways:

First, through our “After School Meal Program” we provide meals to local community after school programs serving children. These meals are prepared and delivered to these partner sites, so that kids can have meals and snacks after school.

Secondly, through our “Weekend Food Program” we package and deliver thousands of bags filled with three or four meals each to eight Title I schools in Anchorage, There are enough bags for every student, to ensure that no child goes home hungry on Friday, when many after-school programs are not open and offering free and discounted meals.

And finally, our “Summer Food Program” provides meals when school is out for summer, and free/discounted meals are not available. During the summer our fresh meal demands virtually quadruple with resources for children being limited. These meals are FREE to those 18 years of age and younger.

Click here for a list of our Summer Food Program Sites (Open and Enrolled)- updated 5/6/2019


Find Summer Meals in Your Community

Nutritious free meals are available for children and teens 18 and younger at many locations throughout the nation throughout the summer while school is out of session. Use the mapping tool below to find a site near you. Or text ‘FOOD’ to 877-877

Site Finder Mapping Tool



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