School Programs

Working in partnership with local schools, Food For Free has developed a suite of school food programs that reach kids and families where they are. These programs make it easier for working families to access healthy foods without adding a trip to a food pantry to their list of errands.

Weekend Eats

Weekend Eats, formerly known as the Cambridge and Somerville Backpack Programs, improves access to healthy food for students in Cambridge and Somerville.

This program sends each student home with meals and snacks for the weekend. The food is discreetly packed in the students’ backpacks each Friday afternoon, ensuring that students are better prepared to learn the following week.

Weekend Eats is now available to every single elementary and upper school student in Cambridge and Somerville Public Schools.

School and Summer Markets

School markets look like farmers’ markets and function like food pantries but they’re free and open to the whole community. These markets are part of our efforts to meet people where they are, and in this case, we make it easy for families to pick up healthy nutritious food during their usual schedules picking up their kids from school.

School markets are collaborations between Food For Free and the schools where they are held. Most are open once a month, on days determined by the school. If you are a parent at one of these schools and want to participate, please contact your school’s Family Liaison.

School Markets (as of Winter 2020) 

  • Banneker Market: serves Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School
  • CCSC Market: serves Community Charter School of Cambridge
  • Fletcher Maynard Academy
  • G&P Market: serves Graham and Parks Elementary
  • K-Lo Market: serves Kennedy-Longfellow Elementary and Cambridge Street Upper School
  • MLK Market: serves Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary and Putnam Avenue Upper School
  • Peabody Market: serves Peabody Elementary School and Rindge Avenue Upper Campus
  • Tobin Market: serves John M. Tobin Montessori School and Vassal Lane Upper School
Our Summer Markets operate when school is out for the summer. They are hosted in public parks and some elementary schools in Cambridge. Just like our School Markets, our Summer Markets are free and open to the whole community.

Heat-n-Eats: supporting local students while they learn

Recent reports estimate that over 30% of college students struggle with food insecurity. As part of our focus on student hunger, Food For Free offers our Heat-n-Eats meal program to support local educational organizations. Heat-n-Eats meals are ideally suited for distribution on campus or through a school. A working parent who arrives for night classes, or a student who can’t afford to purchase lunch can grab a Heat-n-Eat meal, heat it in the school’s microwave, and ensure that they have the sustenance they need to focus in class.

Educational Distribution Sites (as of Winter 2020) 

  • Benjamin Banneker Charter School (Cambridge)
  • Brighton High School
  • Bunker Hill Community College
  • Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School
  • Cambridgeport School, Cambridge Public Schools
  •  East Boston Harborside Community School
  • Gardner Pilot Academy’s Adult ESOL program
  • MassBay Community College (Wellesley)
  • Massasoit Community College
  • Northern Essex Community College (Lawrence and Haverhill campuses)
  • Peabody School, Cambridge Public Schools

Food insecurity is campus-wide concern. Food For Free is an additional resource allowing us to provide multiple meals to approximately 110 students a month.

― Kristine Larkin, Bunker Hill Community College Single Stop, Charlestown