Fauquier County Public Schools spokeswoman Tara Helkowski announced Friday that thanks to Fauquier FISH, A Little Heart, and Saint James’ Episcopal Church and School, every family that comes to Grab-and-Go Meal sites will leave with food this summer — even if the site runs out of planned meals.
The school division’s Grab-and-Go-Meal program provides meals to families in need. It allows parents to drive up and pick up free food for their children with minimal social interaction. All of the food is prepared, shelf-stable food – containers of applesauce, yogurt, dry cereal and individually wrapped sandwiches.
Working together, members of the three organizations, along with help from SPARC Research and the Highland School community, assembled more than 1,000 “snow day kits” to address the needs of Fauquier County children who may be food insecure.
Snow day kits — used during the school year when there is a possibility of a snow day — are typically sent home with children who may not have enough to eat, Helkowski said. Each snow day kit is a day’s worth of food and includes a breakfast item, a lunch item, fruit, a snack and a dinner item all in a resealable storage bag.
While snow is not on the horizon for many months, the current COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need to provide nutritious meals for families. Helkowski pointed out, though, that numbers can vary drastically from week to week, complicating the planning. The availability of snow day kits guarantees that no one leaves a distribution site without food for their children. Families can get multiple kits for their children, as necessary.
The school division was distributing snow day kits provided by Fauquier FISH, but as those kits began to run low, FCPS reached out to additional community partners for assistance. Stacey Irvin, Head of St. James’ Episcopal School, said, “When we heard about the needs of the Grab-and-Go Meal program during the pandemic, we knew we had to help.”
As soon as the church and school sent emails and posted the service project on social media, the snow day kits started coming in. Irvin explained, “We placed two empty bins at the front of the building for contactless donating, and they filled up so fast that we had to empty them into the school lobby a few times every day. The lobby of the school was overflowing with snow kits! We were worried that some items might be hard to find during the pandemic, but the Saint James’ community made it happen. It was a very concrete way to help put food on someone’s table, and we were so happy with the outpouring of support.”
For information about the days, times and locations of the food distribution sites, those interested may call 540-422-7110.