With the onset of the Covid pandemic and the ensuing transition of schools to remote learning, many children from low-income families lost an important source of food –breakfast and lunches given in schools. In March 2020, the Stamford Public School District implemented Grab and Go Meals – a program to distribute meals to students 18 years of age and younger. This saved needy families from food insecurity throughout Stamford, in Connecticut.
A few volunteers from the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Norwalk, Connecticut volunteered three days a week for 4 hours in the morning over a 6-month period to manage a large site that distributed about 80 to 100 meals daily. Tasks included unloading the packed meals, water bottles and fruits from the catering trucks, organizing, labeling, and distributing breakfast/lunch/dinner boxes to needy families, cleaning the facility, packing leftover food for redistribution, and sending reports to Stamford city office. It was a challenge during the initial few weeks – ensuring the delivery was on time, dealing with long lines of waiting parents, getting them to practice social distancing and wearing masks during the height of the pandemic. But everything worked out smoothly and there was never a shortage of food.
The ‘Grab and Go Meals’ program made a significant impact on the lives of students and their families. Thanks to the volunteers, students got a steady supply of meals throughout the week. From April through September 2020, over sixty volunteers from various groups collaborated with the school district at 10 different sites and distributed 434,000 meals to the neediest children within the community.