Loaves and Fishes Ministry


From summer program to year-round service:

Loaves and Fishes was founded in 1982 by Betty Anne Ford and Nancy Newell as a summer enrichment program for twelve (12) 1st & 2nd grade children living in the Halifax Court federal housing community in downtown Raleigh, N.C. As the children began to make gains in reading and social skills, expansion funds were sought to make possible a year-round program that would enhance the children’s performance in the school classroom.  The LAF staff believed that working closely with school personnel and providing daily holistic support during the year would maximize the children’s chances for success.

Betty Anne and Nancy won a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and expanded Loaves and Fishes into a year-round comprehensive intervention program for grades K-2. They officially incorporated Loaves and Fishes as a nonprofit organization in 1984.

Stretching Support to beyond 2nd grade

As the original 12 children moved past 2nd grade and out of the program, their school performance dropped. They needed and wanted ongoing support!  Until a continuum of daily programs was in place for LAF’s children as they progressed from kindergarten through high school, they were matched with an adult friend. These “match” programs, which brought children and mentors together on a regular basis, were called Study Buddies (grades 3-5), Champs (grades 6-8) and Stars (grades 9-12). 

Daily Support for Sixty (60) students kindergarten through high school

As funds were secured through a growing database of individuals, churches, private foundations, businesses and civic groups, the match programs were gradually replaced by daily after-school programs.  Today each child who enrolls in Loaves and Fishes starting in kindergarten has the opportunity to receive full services until he or she graduates from high school.  This vital network of services includes:

  • A daily after-school program
  • Life enrichment activities in health, the arts, conflict resolution, etc.
  • Opportunities to discover and grow in areas of special interest and skill
  • Summer opportunities such as overnight or day camp
  • Continual family support

Expanding the network

We do have a waiting list.  We know that our network of service and support helps children achieve.   As the siblings of our current students reach the age, they do receive first admittance into our program.

Therefore, in addition to addressing the complex needs of our current enrollment, we continue to explore ways in which we might expand to serve more children in the community. 

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