In 2011 Katie Wallace, a parent of an East End Community School student, was volunteering in her daughter’s kindergarten class; helping the teacher set up for “snack time.”
Katie noticed that many of the kids didn’t have any snacks and waited until snack time was over to rejoin their classmates. She also observed that these students weren’t simply missing out on snack time, they were hungry kids.
Once she learned that these kids simply didn’t have the means to bring their own snacks to school, Katie began to deliver extra food to the school to accommodate those who were going without – and soon, for the kids in every classroom.
In 2013 the Good Shepherd Food Bank gave Katie a grant of $4,000 and helped her set up a food pantry in the school nurse’s office. The Good Shepherd Food Bank provides food at-cost and sometimes for no cost. The Good Shepherd Food Bank encouraged the expansion of Katie’s program to more schools in the Greater Portland area.
In 2014 Katie Brown joined forces with Katie Wallace and together they formed the Locker Project. The simple goal of allowing every student access to nourishing food at snack time has turned into a program that has stretched to over a twenty schools in Southern Maine. As Executive Director, Katie Brown’s extensive experience working in the non-profit space helped Katie Wallace’s vision of nourishing food-insecure children expand the reach to thousands of students and their family members. In addition to managing school pantries and snack programs, with the help of 80+ volunteers and the continued partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank, the Locker Project now distributes over 12,000 lbs of donated fresh produce, meats, eggs, and breads each month that students take home and share with their families, expanding the nutritional value of their food and enabling them to learn how to prepare fresh food.