A local non-profit organization is asking for a small donation to make a big difference.
The ForKids unit in Suffolk is looking for people from the community to help by donating food to its Beyond the Bell program.
Beyond the Bell is an after-school program that helps children whose families are homeless, partially homeless or with housing insecurity. When the family is moving due to a lack of stable housing, many of these children may be left behind. This program helps to put these children back on track and to accompany their colleagues.
“We make sure that children’s needs are also met,” said Zakkiyya Anderson, community partnership manager. “Ninety percent of our children are promoted, which is very important for students with late grades”.
In this program, ForKids also offers dinner. Before the pandemic, churches and civic groups regularly prepared meals to be brought or prepared in the ForKids’ kitchen. There were also restaurant partners who donated meals. However, with COVID-19, many churches and organizations are not currently meeting or do not have the resources to help as before.
“These kids are not only learning and are able to move on with their peers, but they can also be fed,” said Anderson. “It is very important for parents that they have one less meal to worry about when there is so much else on their mind. A meal can make a big difference. “
Thirty children participate in this program. Due to the restrictions of COVID-19, students alternate days, having only 15 gifts at a time that they would need a meal.
To donate meals, food must be purchased at a restaurant or store. Meals can range from getting tacos from Taco Bell to some frozen lasagna for the team to warm up later.
“With COVID-19, the food needs to come from a location approved by the Virginia Department of Health or the Disease Control Center to provide extra security for students and staff,” said Anderson.
Anderson said that while children always love pizza, generous donors are encouraged to try to space out food options to give children variety and some healthier eating options.
Classes run until the beginning of June, when the school year ends. There are 15 nights that need donors, mainly in the months of May and June at the end of the year. ForKids will start operating in August with the new academic year, making this an ongoing need for completion.
To sign up, visit tinyurl.com/ForKidsmeals. For more information, contact Zakkiyya Anderson at email@example.com.