Grayson LandCare will not hold its Holiday Gathering or meeting this December. Members are usually asked to bring canned goods or other shelf stable food products to donate to a food pantry, and now, GLC has its own pantry in Food Independence. Since we won’t be meeting, we are asking members and supporters to show their care for our food insecure neighbors during the Holiday Season by making a donation of money to purchase food for a brand-new program. This program assures that Grayson County school students in home isolation (quarantine) after exposure to covid, have a school week’s worth of easy to fix breakfast and lunch items, snacks and drinks. Grayson County, including our schools, is experiencing a spike in Covid cases. When a student tests positive for covid, you can be sure many other students were exposed. This results in hundreds of students being sent home for 7 days of home isolation. They miss 5 school days, or attend remotely, and also miss the breakfast, lunch and snacks during the school week. More than half of our students get free or reduced-price meals due to household income. The School System and Health Department were concerned about access to food for many students in home isolation. GLC President-elect, and Food independence Steering Committee Member, Meagan Helmick, who works for the regional Health Department, challenged us to help address this problem.
After assessing our options and in-house funding to respond quickly, Food independence started “HI-5” or the Home Isolation Food 5-Day Assistance Program. We quickly sourced easy-to-prepare breakfast and lunch foods, snacks, milk and juice drinks for “HI-5 Bags”. By Nov. 19, 144 bags were delivered to the School System Nurses Office with most already delivered to schools and given to students in covid exposure isolation. The rest of the 250 monthly bags will be delivered the Monday after Thanksgiving. Food Independence, as part of GLC, is thrilled to be in a position to organize, source, pack and fund this effort. Helping minimize spread of covid by providing food for students in isolation was just too big a need to say we were too busy, too poor or too small to help.
Monetary donations to support the HI-5 program may be made by sending a check made out to Food Independence to us at Food Independence, P.O. Box 201, Independence, VA 24348 or by making a donation in support of Food independence through the “donate” tab on the GLC website. If you want to learn more about Food Independence, including the new HI-5 program, call Tom (276-768-0957) or Anita Simpson (276-768-0956).
We have so many amazing and generous people in Grayson LandCare and a host of great volunteers and supporters helping Food independence. We want to thank everyone for your past, current and future support of all LandCare programs, with a special focus on the food pantry during this Holiday Season.