No Child Goes Hungry (NCGH) is pleased to have partnered with Peyton Randolph Elementary School to help raise over $6,500 for its food pantry. With the dollars raised, the PTA now has enough funds to offer food weekly for several months.
Rev. Kären Rasmussen, NCGH Founder and Director, first heard of the Randolph Elementary School from her colleague, the Reverend Amanda Poppei. Amanda is the senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, Virginia. Amanda heard about the much-needed work to feed kids in Arlington from Bethany Zecher Sutton, the Randolph Elementary School PTA’s Food Pantry Coordinator and made the introductions all around.
“I’ve known Kären for years and have watched her organization grow—especially in the way that she is able to support hyper-local groups as well as bigger non-profits,” said Rev. Poppei. “When Bethany told me about the growing need to feed kids right in her own neighborhood, I just had a feeling these two could collaborate and combine their efforts.”
No Child Goes Hungry provided a grant of $1,500 to the school to use in a match fundraising drive. Zecher Sutton used the funds to raise $4,000 more for a total of $6,500 for the program.
The Randolph Elementary School PTA Food Pantry began as a small support system within the school for families in need in fall 2019. It pivoted to an outdoor, weekly food distribution model in March 2020. With more than 175 families visiting regularly, the food pantry provides a bag of non-perishable groceries and take-one items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, vegetable oil, masa corn flour, cereal, bread, and other staples.
The food pantry also serves as a hub for distributing cleaning products, masks, and other resources such as school supplies and books. Randolph Elementary is a Title I school serving a diverse and vibrant population in south Arlington. Nearly 75 percent of the children enrolled in the school qualify for free or reduced meals. The 22204 zip code, in which the school sits, has suffered the most significant COVID-19 rates in Arlington County.
“Families are struggling with managing virtual learning for their children while grappling with unemployment, illness, housing insecurity, and food insecurity,” said Zecher Sutton. “Providing a consistent source of food, in an environment where they feel safe and welcomed, is helping to provide stability for the kids in our school. We are so proud to be able to serve our families and build greater awareness across Arlington of the needs of our neighbors. We are grateful for the support of No Child Goes Hungry and other partners in helping us sustain our model through the pandemic.”
In this news interview with WJLA ABC 7 on February 25, Sutton told reporters, “We have consistently seen an average of about 150 families a week since the beginning of the pandemic. We’re probably serving somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 families regularly.”
To learn how NCGH can help support your local hunger advocacy initiative, contact us today.