Target: Amaya Weiss, John Still Elementary School’s Youth and Family Resource Center
Goal: Applaud an elementary school’s community program for assisting food-insecure children and their families
Eight million six hundred thousand children experienced food insecurity in 2013. Persistent hunger undeniably causes profound physical and emotional stress on both children and their families, who must constantly worry about getting from one meal to the next. Worse still, poor nutrition can also have devastating long-term consequences on both children and adults’ health. Thankfully, schools have been stepping up in their efforts to assist children coming from food-insecure households.
According to Food America, a national network of food banks, its school pantry program distributed over 21 million meals to 110,000 children across the country using a variety of ways from boxed meals to allowing families to choose food items. More recently, some schools have even been reaching out to the families of students. Amaya Weiss’s Youth and Family Resource Center at John Still Elementary School in Sacramento, California, where all of the school’s 970 students qualify for the free or reduced meal program, is one of them.
Realizing that many children could not count on having weeknight dinners or weekend meals, Ms. Weiss started reaching out to local churches for donations in 2013. Now the food pantry is stocked with instant meals, ingredients for pasta, and other dishes that are easy to make. Knowing that the pantry cannot be a quick fix for poverty, Ms. Weiss instead sees the bag or two of groceries she distributes to families each week as a bridge, helping families feel supported by schools, which in turn can connect them to helpful resources.
By signing the petition below, you can applaud the valuable contribution Ms. Weiss and her colleagues are making to the lives of students and their families, and thank them for their much-needed leadership and service to their communities.
Dear Ms. Weiss,
I am writing to thank you for providing meals to food-insecure households in the Meadowview community. Bringing together schools, students, and their families, you are demonstrating invaluable leadership and service and offering much-needed assistance and support to families struggling to feed their children.
Reaching out to local churches for donations, you are inspiring greater collaboration among community members in order to help those in need, which is incredibly heartening to witness. Where people feel despair, you are offering them hope. I wish to express my support and give my best wishes for the future of your center and the well-being of your community.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom via wilpf.org