Our first Weekend Food for Kids packing of the school year was a huge success and had several elements that made it extraordinary. Aided by 80 helpers, including Assistance League members, Dominion employees, and community volunteers, we packed 1720 bags in less than an hour and delivered them to 6 schools! Our high-speed packing relies on the team of members who gather a few days before to organize all the items to ensure that each assembly line has the exact number of items for the schools to which the bags will be delivered.
We expanded our food program this year in several ways. We increased the number of bags we distribute; 4 schools now receive 10 additional bags each, and we replaced three items in the bag with new ones, in an effort to provide more nutritious non-perishable items that will appeal to the children. Also, the six schools will get two ‘emergency’ grocery gift cards each month, intended for families facing special challenges. The food bags and emergency gift cards were delivered to students in Fairfax and Prince William counties. A seventh school, in Alexandria, receives grocery gift cards only, due to storage issues at the school. In addition, we provided five grocery gift cards to a school that receives food bags from another source.
We were able to expand our food program in part because of a generous grant from the Cecil and Irene Hylton Foundation, Inc., Woodbridge. We are very grateful for the Hylton Foundation’s continued support and will use the grant to purchase food items and grocery gift cards for the three schools we serve in Prince William County.
Also, we were joined by long-time friends from Didlake, Inc., Manassas, and RBH Global Wealth Partners, Reston. The Didlake helpers hadn’t been able to attend a food packing since the pandemic, while our friends from RBH have helped with these events many times. In addition, RBH gave us a donation to purchase much-needed items for the Hygiene Kits that we will distribute to older students at several elementary schools next month. We are very grateful to Rebecca Hall and RBH for their continued support. We were also joined for the first time by a team from Northwest Federal Credit Union and hope they can return for future packings.
We also kicked off the school year by providing an assortment of basic clothing to those eight elementary schools. We delivered 1113 items of clothing, such as sweatpants, sweatshirts, leggings, underwear, and socks. We will continue our New Clothing for Kids efforts in October, and plan to provide more clothing, sneakers, and winter jackets.
With such a terrific start to this school year, we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish, with the help of our many supporters.