The Pandemic: One Year Later Sep 22, 2021 | 11:30am
It is hard to believe it’s been an entire year since schools were forced to close and people were told to stay home. It’s certainly been a tumultuous time presenting unique challenges for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations in our community. We’ve had to change the way we live life in order to protect ourselves and other members of our community. It is crazy to think of what has become our new normal a year later!
Though an entire year has passed, children in our community are still in vulnerable positions and are being affected by all the changes. They have had to adapt to new schedules that require spending hours trying to do schoolwork at home with limited socialization with friends. Breakfasts and lunches that were previously provided at schools have become more difficult to access for those parents without transportation. TABLE is so thankful to be able to continue serving our community’s children during the pandemic and we aim to be a place of stability and provision during these trying times.
As we begin to slowly open up and adjust to a new normal, we wanted to share the impact TABLE has made and say thank you to everyone who has helped us along the way!
Delivering directly to our kids…
TABLE is now delivering bags of food to approximately 740 children every week directly to their doorsteps rather than once a week through their schools and afterschool centers! This is a huge increase from the 521 bags we were delivering at the start of school closures. Since March 2020, with the help of our volunteers, we’ve delivered 29,492 bags of food, containing 290,492 meals and snacks. We are also giving out 50% more food per child each week than before the pandemic with 87% of that increase being in fresh food!
With so many parents out of work or working on reduced hours, these bags of food are greatly depended on by our families and have helped alleviate the financial burdens many are experiencing in providing nutritious food to their children.
One TABLE family wrote, “TABLE has been a help to my family in so many ways. The fresh produce, especially, has been such a blessing, as produce can be pricey, and having to choose between healthy food for my kids and paying my bills is a choice that would break my heart to have to make. But with the help from TABLE I don’t have that burden. As a single mom it means so much to me to be able to provide healthy meals and snacks to my kids, and I am so grateful.”
A shout out to those we are so thankful for…
Our success would not be possible without our volunteers who have continued to step up to the plate. More than 520 community members gave their time helping us unpack, organize and shelve the thousands of pounds of food donations we’ve received. They have also helped every week to assemble hundreds of bags of food and deliver to approximately 425 households. Their commitment to and enthusiasm for serving our community is beyond appreciated.
One volunteer says, ““It is so satisfying to see a real outcome of my work as a volunteer and it is easy to picture the bags of food going to a child who will open and enjoy it and have food to eat.”
For us, it has been gratifying to watch both brand new and long time returning volunteers connect during this time and find the joy in serving together.
In addition to our fabulous volunteers, we have been so thankful to continue receiving help from local businesses, restaurants, and donors. We could not manage during this time without their support from repackaging bulk food, donating food, to providing monetary donations. It’s been a true community effort!
Nutrition education while remote learning…
Prior to COVID, we offered nutrition education during the school year through the after school centers. Without being able to provide nutrition education to the kids we serve in-person, we have piloted several new programs by giving children worksheets in their bags of food.
These programs, Explorers@Home and Chefs@Home, have provided children with new recipes, information about healthy eating, introductions to local and nationally recognized chefs, and new child-friendly kitchen tools. We’ve also included fresh food in their bags that correspond to the recipes. For example, one month we included a recipe for Broccoli and Cheddar Omelet Pie and each child received broccoli in their bag. We will continue to pilot new programs throughout the summer.
We hope that by providing this information to kids, they will gain an understanding of how nutrition can help shape the way they view their own eating habits and impact their overall health and wellness.
Though we are still, a whole year later, living in uncertain and changing times, we are confident in TABLE’s efforts to serve local children in the most effective and uplifting way possible. This confidence comes from the unwavering support of our gracious and giving volunteers, our donors, local businesses, and those who help us in any way. Thank you for being committed to TABLE, and for enabling the impact we have been able to make!