BB&T Bank of Fairfax coordinated a gift of Back Pack Friday food packs through Our Daily Bread of Fairfax. Fort Hunt Elementary School, and six other elementary schools received more than 200 organized Back PackFriday bags. School Counselor Erin Baker is on the right.
This year Fort Hunt Elementary School started a Backpack Friday program as part of its new Care and Share initiative. The program provides food to 30 students who rely on school meals for nourishment. The Fort Hunt Elementary school community is collaborating to help students through Care and Share.
The program grew from serving 12 students in September to 30 by May largely through the investment of the Fort Hunt Parent Teacher Association (PTA). “Our Fort Hunt families and wider community have made this program sustainable,” according to Allison Verch, Fort Hunt PTA president.
In addition to the Fort Hunt PTA’s successful restaurant-night fundraisers, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, Waynewood Elementary school, the Boy and Girl Scouts of America and Our Daily Bread have provided critical partnerships.
“It’s one of things that I am most proud of — the way so many people have come together to help. When students receive adequate nutrition they’re more available for learning,” said Thomas Fitzpatrick, principal of Fort Hunt Elementary School.
The food bags are coordinated and delivered each week by FHES parent and Care and Share Co-Chair Sarah Olson. Each pack contains two breakfast items, two snacks, two lunches and two dinners. FHES parent Stacie Leathem provides fresh produce each week.
Students receive extra food for long weekends such as Memorial Day and Columbus Day. When the forecast called for snow, the students received their bags on Thursdays. In the case of an unanticipated snowfall, Fitzpatrick and Fort Hunt Community Outreach Chair Kathy Lehner delivered door-to-door.
In addition to the weekly bags, the Care and Share program provided support for the holiday breaks including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break. A local Boy Scout troop, led by FHES parent Angela Perez provided clothing items and toys at Christmas. Through a “Coins for Cranberries” fundraiser led by FHES parents Carrie Sessine and Sara Olson, each family received the makings of a full Thanksgiving feast. Additionally, each family received bags of provisions for the long breaks.
The Care and Share program has also provided clothing to students including winter coats and hats and school supplies including backpacks, notebooks, and pencils.