History of Food For Children, Inc. (FFC)
Back in 1988, two young women spent a Saturday morning making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the hood of their car. These sandwiches were to be given to children of drug addicted parents in the inner city of Manchester, NH. In a parking lot across the street from a bar called the “Zoo,” these women took their place to attract these children. From a distance a little boy watched to see what was going on. After some time, this child crossed the street and was given a sandwich. It did not take long before the word spread and more children would come.
The “Zoo” is gone, the health department intervened, and people started to contribute funds for support. All these things contributed to moving the mission forward and increasing the vision of Food For Children. With money being given, the two women felt it necessary to expand the group and approached a couple from the church they were attending. This is when Brad and Maureen Goodnow came to the rescue of the organization and helped caused its expansion.
The move from peanut butter sandwiches to prepackaged groceries was the next step. With contacts in several area food stores, Brad and Maureen were able to broaden the variety of goods to be distributed to these kids each and every Saturday morning.
It wasn’t long before the ever increasing refugee population learned that food items were available each week. From these meeker beginnings, Food For Children continued to steadily grow. For several years an old Subaru station wagon stacked with folding tables gave way to a small used yellow box truck. A handful of recipients soon grow to 30 to 35 families. From one vendor to several grocery stores, the amount of produces available kept increasing. More and more people began to invest time and money into the ministry. Volunteers began showing up to help each week. As more volunteers came, so did people in need.
The ministry began to look for another location when the parking lot was chained off by a new owner. FFC moved from the east side to the west side. Since that time the organization has been in several locations before finding a home at the J. F. Kennedy Coliseum parking lot.
Upon moving to a larger space the number of families started to increase from a high of 104 in 2004 to and all time high of 557 the week before Thanksgiving 2011. With each increase God provided the food to give to those in need.
From the City of Manchester to the New Hampshire Food Bank, the community has been supportive of Food For Children and its mission to the people of Manchester and the surrounding towns. Many of our volunteers come to work with the NH Food Bank and then end up being regulars at FFC. With this continued assistance, FFC will continue for many years.