Weekend Food for Kids

Fairfax County, the second richest county in the United States, can't have hungry citizens. Wrong!

In Fairfax County there are 89,000 residents who are struggling with hunger, including 38,000 children (Source: Capital Area Food Bank).  In Northern Virginia 1 in 6 children is at risk of or experiencing hunger (Source: U.S. Census), and 1 in 5 children in public school is eligible for free or reduced price meals. Children look forward to coming to school, not to study and learn, but to eat free breakfast and lunch.

What do these children eat on weekends?  Assistance League of Northern Virginia started a program in 2010, WEEEKEND FOOD FOR KIDS, that provides nutritional food for children to eat over the weekend. The program has now expanded, and thanks to a large grant from Dominion Virginia Power was able to provide 13,556 bags of food to hungry children during this past 2015-2016 school year. The food is distributed to five Title I schools in Northern Virginia.

Once a month volunteers of Assistance League, along with volunteers from Dominion Virginia Power and other individual and community volunteers, gather at the Dominion offices in Herndon to pack the bags of food. There is an assembly line process that is so efficient that over 1,500 bags of food are packed in less than two hours! Each bag of food costs approximately $4. That includes cereal, canned fruit, granola bars, pudding, cheese crackers, noodles and canned meat.

Our goal is to provide food for 80% of the children who often receive free and reduced priced meals at the selected schools. However, we can only afford to do this once a month - and there are many more schools with hungry children.

Would you like to help? Come to one of our food packing events and see how the process works. This is a perfect project for a business to support, both financially and with volunteer hours. You can provide volunteer support in the form of shopping, packing and delivery. You can help in fundraising or sponsoring a school or a monthly event.

If you have any questions, please contact Jeanne Sclater, VP Philanthropy, at jeanne.sclater@verizon.net

2015-2016 School Year:

Every month during the school year of September to May, Assistance League members, along with Dominion Virginia volunteers and Community Volunteers  pack 1,500 individual food bags for the kids in five Title I schools: Yorkshire Elementary, Lynbrook Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Cora Kelly Elementary and Pine Spring Elementary bringing the total number of children helped for the 2015-2016 school year to 13,556!. Thank you to  all of the volunteers of Assistance League of Northern Virginia, Dominion andthe community who make this program such a success each year. 

In 2015-2016, we gained a new community partner, Intelsat Corporation.  Intelsat volunteers have committed to pack 125 food bags for our program in 2016-2017.  This enables us to add a new Title I school to our Weekend Food for Kids program, Loch Lomond Elementary School in Prince William County, VA.  

We are actively seeking other corporate volunteers who want to become part of the program!  If you want to explore this opportunity for your company to give back in a meaningful way to the community, please contact please contact Jeanne Sclater, VP Philanthropy, at jeanne.sclater@verizon.net

Weekend Food For Kids

Weekend Food For Kids Program Receives Grant from Dominion Virginia Power for 2016-2017 Year

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Dominion Virginia Power again provides a generous $15,000 grant to support the Weekend Food For Kids program for the 2016-2017 school year.

St John Neumann's Kids Participated in Weekend Food For Kids

Ninth graders preparing for their Confirmation at St. John Neumann participated in a retreat in September 2016. The afternoon activities packing 300 food bags for the Weekend Food for Kids program for Assistance League of Northern Virginia!

Thank You ninth graders!

2013-2014 School Year:

Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year Assistance League of Northern Virginia expanded our services to include a new school, Cora Kelly, in the city of Alexandria.  Cora Kelly joins two Title I elementary schools in Fairfax county and one Title I school in Prince William county to benefit from our Weekend Food for Kids program.

During this past 2013-2014 school year Assistance League of Northern Virginia® in collaboration with Dominion Virginia Power purchased food and packed 14,514 individual food bags for hungry children in the five Title I schools..

Dominion volunteers donated over 450 hours, along with Saint John Newman high school students, a George Mason University sorority and other individual volunteers donating an additional 207 hours, to help Assistance League volunteers feed elementary students who qualified for free and reduced-priced lunches in five schools in Prince William County, Fairfax County, Falls Church and the city of Alexandria. The students received nutritious supplementary food to take home for the weekend on a monthly basis.

A big THANK YOU to Dominion Virginia Power and all our volunteers!

Rotary Club of Dunn Loring Donation for the 2016-2017 School Year

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At their meeing on June 28, 2013 the Dunn Loring Rotary Club presented Assistance League of Northern Virginia with a check for $4,000 for the Pine Spring Elementary School Weekend Food for Kids Program for the 2013-2014 school year.

In the photo from the left are:
Armando Peri, Principal, Pine Spring Elementary School
Ed Hogg, President, Rotary Club of Dunn Loring - Merrifield
Linda Shilts, President, Assistance League
Pat Thompson, VP Philanthropy Assistance League
Bryan Casey, Service Committee Chair, Rotary Club of Dunn Loring - Merrifield.

The First Weekend Food for Kids Packing Event in the 2012-2013 School Year

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Rodney Blevins, Vice President Dominion Virginia Power, presents our President, Linda Shilts, with a generous donation of $20,000

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ALNV members in red and Dominion Power volunteers in blue make the first Food Packing Event a huge success

Thank you, thank you. 1,240 children were less likely to be hungry this past weekend because of the generosity in time, effort and spirit of 26 Assistance League of Northern Virginia members and over 55 Dominion Virginia Power volunteers. 1,240 weekend food bags for the at-risk children in 4 elementary schools were packed on September 21, 2012 - the first food packing event for the 2012-2013 school year. The event moved like clockwork due to packing efforts of all these Dominion volunteers together with the planned organization of our members.

This packing event was special as Dominion Virginia Power Vice President, Rodney Blevins, presented our President, Linda Shilts, with a generous donation of $20,000 which is being used to expand our program to provide weekend food to 80% of those children eligible for free and reduced price meals at four area Title I schools. The grant enabled us to add the forth school, Cora Kelly in Alexandria, while increasing the food distribution to Yorkshire to meet the needs of all the families who requested assistance this term.

For additional information you may contact us at ALNorthernVA@yahoo.com or email our Weekend Food For Kids Coordinators Gail Banks at gcbanks31@verizon.net or Wilma Bastian at webastian@cox.net . 

2011-2012 School Year:

With the assistance of community volunteers, the Assistance League of Northern Virginia expanded its Weekend Food for Kids program during the 2011- 2012 school year. We provided 9.960 weekend food packages for food insecure students in two Title I elementary schools in Fairfax county and one Title I school in Prince William county. These students often receive free or reduced priced meals during the week, but lack this support on weekends. 

During one 2011-2012 packing event students of Lee High School in Fairfax helped us serve these children through their Nourishing Neighbors Food Drive.  A BIG thank you goes out to these Fairfax students for their community spirit!

Click the link below to see how these students were involved with their community.

Further Facts:

Children are going hungry and it is affecting their academic performance:

  • In Northern Virginia (Alexandria City, Arlington, Falls Church City, Fairfax County, Manassas City, Prince William County and Loudoun County), 1 in 6 children is at risk of or experiencing hunger.
  • During the 2007 Attorney General's Hunger Tour of Northern Virginia, Bob McDonnell said, "Having grown up in this area I know that most Virginians don't think about hunger and poverty when they think of Northern Virginia. This is a region that is defined by a robust and growing economy. However, when you stop to look aroun you find that hunger and poverty are present in these communities. They are just harder to see. There is no simple solution to solving the issues of hunger and poverty, but we have got to do more. No one should go to bed hungry in the Virginia of 2007."
  • In Northern Virginia, 1 in 5 children in public school is eligible for free or reduced price meals. Children look forward to coming to school, not to study and learn, but to eat the free breakfast and lunch.
  • Data has shown that, by the third grade, children who had been food insecure in kindergarten saw a 13% drop in their reading and math test scores compared to their food secure peers. (Partnership for America's Economic Success, 2008)
  • For school year 2008/2009, 37,161 or 22.2% of children enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools were eligible for the reduced and free School Nutrition Program (SNP) which provides breakfast and lunch on school days. In Prince William County, 23,238 or 31.5% were eligible. (Virginia Department of Education, SY2008/2009 NLSP Eligibility Report)
  • Counselors and teachers have noted behaviors in children that indicate chronic hunger. These indicators include: rushing food lines, extreme hunger on Monday mornings, comments about not having enough food, saving/hoarding/stealing food to take home, fatigue and lethargy, inattention at school, and poor school performance. For many of these children, the only meals they eat are the ones provided in school. (School counselors at Providence Elementary School)
 
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