In the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Administrative Offices Wednesday morning, volunteers filled stacks and stacks of cardboard boxes with cereal, produce, and canned goods like green beans and tuna.
They also added activities to the packages — a rock painting set, a book to read, and a booklet full of conversation starters and crafts for the whole family.
This is the second year the district has created Thanksgiving Break Kits.
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Executive Director of Community Engagement Mark Batten says the kits were delivered to about 400 families. Social workers selected five families from each school to receive the boxes.
“They could be experiencing homelessness temporarily, the children could be in foster care, they could have some financial scarcity right now. But these are families who could utilize additional resources,” Batten said. “And for us, whatever resource we can provide, especially with our meal items, it allows our families to put their own resources toward keeping the heat running in their housing, or they can put gas in the car to go see family.”
Batten says there were about 200 individuals who either volunteered their time or donated money to make the project happen. Twelve local organizations and businesses, including Bookmarks and Food Lion, provided many of the items in the kits as well.
Multilingual Learners Parent Engagement Manager Nareny Martinez says her team made sure to include culturally relevant food, like beans and rice, in the packages for multilingual families.
“I feel like we tried to go an extra mile for families,” Martinez said. “And not only our job is to serve the student at the school but also making sure that the student has what they need in their home.”
The district estimates that the kits will serve more than 1,000 people.
Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.