Teach Your Kids About Hunger During March Nutrition Month in Arlington

Jamestown Elementary college students assemble baking kits at Valentine’s Day for AFAC households.

Arlington County, the sixth wealthiest county within the nation, has practically 20,000 folks dwelling beneath the federal poverty degree of $25,100 for a household of 4. The variety of kids eligible totally free or diminished worth lunches ranges from 0.56 p.c or 3 college students at Tuckahoe, 19 college students or 3.07 p.c at Jamestown Elementary, to 514 college students or 80.56 p.c at Carlyn Springs Elementary.

Items on essentially the most requested AFAC record embrace tuna, low sodium canned greens, low sugar cereal, peanut butter and cooking oil.


Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) distributes over 80,000 kilos of meals to greater than 2,400 needy households every week in Arlington, and at first of the pandemic the variety of households jumped 23 p.c. Forty p.c of the meals donated to AFAC is from meals drives and grocery retailer donations with a bit of over half of this from grocery shops. 

Charlie Meng, Chief Executive Officer of AFAC says, “Food drives are vitally necessary to the work of AFAC.” But he factors out that as grocery shops have higher matched provide and demand, donations from shops have been dropping. He says within the subsequent 12 months they are going to be encouraging extra meals drives.

March is Nutrition Month and the place there may be an concept, there’s a means, massive or small. Food drives take a wide range of types from neighborhood and church teams to libraries and native companies and faculty teams.

Children have performed a giant position in these efforts. Eagle Scout Charlie Gaylord and Boy Scout Troop 106 constructed a everlasting Little Free Pantry in again of the Central Library to gather AFAC donations. 

The Keenan household in 2020 arrange tables of their entrance yard with a purpose of accumulating 10,000  cans and supplied treats for individuals who stopped by with a contribution. Neighborhoods have been dotted with meals drives marketed on NextDoor and sponsored by varied highschool organizations. 

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology college students have organized a mini Canstruction the place every workforce creates a sculpture out of cans and non-perishable objects. In October 2021, they donated 3,474 kilos of meals to AFAC. Two elementary faculty college students organized a meals assortment on their road, practically filling an AFAC field.  

Just this month college students at Jamestown Elementary made Valentine’s packages with cooking oil, flour, sugar and different baking wants. Every 12 months Scouts fan out within the nationwide Scouting for Food effort round neighborhoods to gather luggage of cans left outdoors doorways within the largest AFAC volunteer effort of the 12 months.

Your baby can set up household, their Sunday School class, buddies, soccer workforce or neighbors round a meals drive. Or they will reorient their subsequent celebration to broaden or change the normal birthday reward they obtain with a can of tuna or soup for another person.  

Or they will set up a cereal drive within the winter with their buddies and construct a wall of cereal bins of their lounge. Maybe they’d fairly make emergency meals kits together with specified objects for a day together with breakfast, lunch and dinner and put them in a embellished bag with a handwritten observe. One group collected baking provides in a festive bag across the holidays.

The children can have an organizational and planning social gathering (with pizza after all) the place they make the yard indicators, a top level view of issues to do, create a social media message, design flyers with a listing of most wanted objects together with canned tuna, canned soups, canned greens and tomatoes, peanut butter in plastic jars and low-sugar cereal. 

They can go grocery buying with you whereas scanning labels for no salt added, no sugar added, low sodium, unsweetened for their very own contribution to the meals drive. They would possibly wish to think about they’re feeding their very own household and select issues from the accepted record that they want to eat.

While it’s simple to plan a meals drive, it does take some organizational expertise which is usually a bonus as your baby learns to set the date for the meals drive and register it on-line, order the meals assortment field from AFAC, promote the drive and return the meals to AFAC. More particulars could be discovered on the AFAC web site.

If your baby isn’t fairly prepared to leap right into a meals drive but, it’s simple to simply choose up a can or field when buying with mother or dad and drop it in one of many many AFAC bins scattered across the neighborhood outdoors some grocery shops, church buildings and companies who preserve a everlasting assortment web site. They could wish to spend a part of their allowance every week on a can of soup or container of cooking oil. For a listing of those websites examine [email protected]


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