Food for Neighbors staff distributes weekend food bags to students or parents of students in Fairfax County Public Schools' Herndon Pyramid.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
Like clockwork, staff members from Herndon High School assisted at the Food for Neighbors weekend grab and go bag distribution for middle and high school students in Fairfax County Public Schools' Herndon Pyramid. Students or their parents waited in front of Hutchison Elementary School in Herndon. They watched staff unload bin after bin of food in Ziploc bags. Organizers had overlapped distribution location and time with that of Fairfax County Public Schools' free meal service during the coronavirus pandemic at Hutchison Elementary.
To students and their parents, nothing looked different – a bag of student food handed to them to last the weekend. What was different, though, was that the organization no longer had accepted donations of food and toiletries directly from neighbors in the community, to limit possible coronavirus exposure to volunteers, school staff, students and their families. That meant neighbors did not fill their red bags with household purchases and leave them on their porches for volunteers to pick up.
Instead, Food for Neighbors had revised its giving program. It only accepted monetary donations to "fill" Virtual Red Bags. According to the organization's website, a $30 donation, tax-deductible, filled one Virtual Red Bag with enough food for eight students for one weekend. Different levels of donation were available. Visit https://www.foodforneighbors.org/ to learn more.