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LCPS Students Help Food For Neighbors Kickoff

 

Approximately 60 students and four staff members from River Bend Middle School helped with the Food For Neighbors kickoff on September 11th.

They were joined by staff from Sterling Middle School, Park View High School and Seneca Ridge Middle School Principal Nick Cottone and his children. “We have a large number of students in need at Seneca Ridge Middle School,” said Cottone. “Being able to partner with Food For Neighbors is a win-win for all of us.”

The kickoff featured food collections and sorting events in five Northern Virginia areas: Herndon, Springfield, Falls Church, Fort Hunt and Sterling. More than 17,000 pounds of food were collected from more than 1,100 households. This food will help to provide food security to vulnerable students in 24 schools in Fairfax County and Loudoun County. During the event, Food For Neighbors Co-founder, Karen Joseph, recognized the nonprofit’s five-year anniversary and thanked the many Sterling Area volunteers, organizations and participating schools for their support.

The Sterling Area did not let the pandemic stop it from rolling out its formal food collection program at a time when neighborhood schools needed more support than ever. “Even through the pandemic, Food For Neighbors never stopped helping our students; it was never a question,” said Shelby Hoover, the social worker at Sterling Middle School.

“We knew we had to make this happen,” shared Liz Campbell, who now serves as the Sterling area manager. “We were fortunate to have the steadfast support of wonderful volunteers and organizations, including Riverside Presbyterian Church and the Sterling Rotary, both of which do so much in the community.”

The Sterling Area has grown to include twelve volunteer drivers collecting food from up to 182 nearby households. With its ongoing expansion to Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, the Sterling team is now supporting students at six Loudoun County middle schools and high schools. In addition to Stone Bridge, these include Sterling, Seneca Ridge, and River Bend middle schools as well as Park View and Potomac Falls high schools. At these schools, social workers, counselors, and parent liaisons connect food insecure students with the collected and sorted supplemental food as well as with grocery store gift cards. The extra support gives students a fundamental tool to help them succeed, as they are then able to focus more on their schoolwork than on their hunger.

As the need continues to be great, Food For Neighbors welcomes additional Northern Virginia middle and high schools, volunteers, and organizations to participate in the program. School staff and PTA representatives interested in bringing the program to their schools may send an email to contact@foodforneighbors.org. Community members may make monetary contributions, sign up to donate food, and express interest in volunteering at https://www.foodforneighbors.org/get-involved/. Businesses and organizations interested in becoming Food For Neighbors partners, may contact Renee Maxwell, renee@foodforneighbors.org.

 

 

 

 

Published September 28, 2021