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Vienna Preschoolers Help Less-fortunate

F. B. Meekins Preschool partners with Emmaus Church to bring food and goods to Our Daily Bread pantry in Vienna.

Preschoolers at F. B. Meekins Preschool fill bags with food and non-perishables for delivery to the Our Daily Bread storage pantry at CubeSmart in Vienna. The preschool partnered with Emmaus United Church of Christ for collection.

Preschoolers at F. B. Meekins Preschool fill bags with food and non-perishables for delivery to the Our Daily Bread storage pantry at CubeSmart in Vienna. The preschool partnered with Emmaus United Church of Christ for collection. Photo by Donna Manz.

To kick off the season of sharing, F. B. Meekins Preschool in Vienna partnered with Emmaus United Church of Christ to give its preschoolers an opportunity to share their good fortune and bounty with families less fortunate. Throughout October, Meekins’ families donated food and dry goods to the Church’s collection, and, on Friday, Oct. 19, 16 children, aged 4 to 5, gathered six bags of food and supplies and delivered them to the storage pantry of Our Daily Bread [ODB]. Nine parents and one teacher, Tara Voight, accompanied the children to the Vienna CubeSmart facility.

“What do you do when you’re hungry,” Voight asked her students before they filled up the food and goods bags. Some answered, “eat,” while some were more specific. They eat Cheerios. “Some children are hungry,” Voight explained to them. “They don’t have all that you have.”

To most kids in Vienna, going hungry is an alien concept. You’re hungry, you eat. Your mom buys you snacks and treats. The outing to the storage pantry at CubeSmart gave the children a different perspective. Chris Garris, food manager with Our Daily Bread, met the children at CubeSmart and spoke with them in the well-organized pantry unit. She described the mission of Our Daily Bread and its tools to reach the families who need their services. From food/dry goods distribution to making lunch-sacks for kids who would miss good nutrition on weekends, Our Daily Bread works with Northern Virginia agencies to get nutritious and healthy meals to those who would not otherwise have access.

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Meekins preschoolers on their way to Our Daily Bread’s food storage pantry.

When asked if she knew why she and her classmates brought food and supplies to the pantry, she replied, “because some people don’t have any food. Or money.”

Noticeably absent from the pantry were perishables. With no refrigeration or freezer, what can’t be kept there, Garris asked. The children responded with the things they’re most familiar with: milk, eggs, pizza and ice cream. To give needy families an opportunity to bring home perishables, Our Daily Bread distributes $20 or $25 grocery store gift cards to them. The gift cards are either donated or are bought from cash donations. Grocery gift cards are most-needed, said Garris.

Our Daily Bread donations come, primarily, from church, civic groups and schools, and corporations.

There are 21 churches who collect and deliver food, Garris said. “Our Daily Bread is always looking for new organizations to join up.”

Donations are weighed to estimate “value.” Each pound is multiplied by $1.67. Meekins delivered 93.4 pounds of non-perishables to ODB, valued at $156.

When the little girl, a 4-year-old, was asked how she would feel if she had no food or money to buy treats and toys, she said, “sad.”

In this season of giving and sharing, it’s good that all—children and adults—keep that in-mind.

To learn how your group can support Our Daily Bread, go to http://www.odbfairfax.org/. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Our Daily Bread hosts the fundraiser Wine and Wonderment, at 2941 restaurant, to benefit ODB’s holiday programs. Details on ODB’s homepage.