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Three Squares

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Declan B.

Declan B.

Northwest Harvest operates the Three Squares program in eight school districts in Washington— Seattle, Kent, and Highline in King County; Clover Park in Pierce County; Yakima and Toppenish in Yakima County; Spokane in Spokane County; and new in 2011-12, Hoquiam in Grays Harbor County. We provide food to over 40 public schools with high percentages of students participating in the free or reduced-price school meals program. The program offers nutritious, kid-friendly, supplemental food for children with limited food resources outside of school.

From our Three Squares partner schools:

"Students who feel like the school is providing them with additional support build a stronger relationship with schools. Students who feel like they are receiving healthy options to supplement their home food needs feel more connected to the staff and school."

Having the Three Squares program allowed me to establish an ongoing conversation and relationship with families about nutrition for themselves and their children... [Three Squares] also helped me to collaborate and communicate with students about nutrition and how important it is to eat breakfast and fruits and vegetables."

"What we have learned at our school is that children are at their best when they eat a nutritious meal in the morning, and they are able to be productive and are more responsible."

"Hungry kids don’t learn because their mind is on food; but a child who is well nourished is happy, less afraid and able to focus on school."

We all know that hungry children can’t concentrate on learning, are sick more often and have more behavior problems than well-nourished children. Inadequate nutrition remains a problem for Washington’s children even with the availability of school nutrition programs and food banks.

Since 2004, the program has offered nutritious, kid-friendly, supplemental food for children with limited food resources outside of school. During the 2010-11 school year, Three Squares provided over 21,800 services to high-need students, including take-home bags and in-school snacks.

If you are interested in contributing to Northwest Harvest’s Three Squares program, funds are used to purchase food for the schools to directly distribute to students. If you would like to donate foods for the program, we recommend the items below. They have been selected for their portability, ease of preparation and nutritional value.

  • Protein: flip-top cans of chili, ravioli, easy-to-prepare macaroni and cheese, tuna, vegetarian refried beans, small plastic jars of peanut butter.
  • Dairy: shelf-stable milk or soy milk
  • Fruit: snack-sized (4 oz.) applesauce, peaches, pears, fruit cocktail, with flip tops. 100% fruit juices and natural fruit snacks.
  • Vegetables: vegetable soups or stews; canned green beans, corn or carrots.
  • Grains: individual servings of instant oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, cup of noodles, chicken noodle soup, instant rice meals.
  • Snacks: cheese crackers, energy bars, multigrain bars (without peanuts).
  • Bags: backpacks or reusable bags for students to carry home food.

Three Squares is funded by corporate and foundation grants and supplemented by funds from our operating budget. For more information, contact Elise DeGooyer at 206.923.7423 or elised@northwestharvest.org.

View/Print Three Squares insert (PDF)