Superintendent’s Corner: We Can Come Together to Combat Food Insecurity During the Holidays

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Each day, more and more families are experiencing struggles obtaining food.  

During the weeks schools are in session during this pandemic, every student can receive a free breakfast and lunch. Families are taking advantage of our food distribution sites both on and off campuses.  

Our current practice, as suggested by families, is a five-day box that is picked up on Monday so families only have to make one trip in for the free meals. The practice has been highly successful, and we are distributing an average of 16,000 meals each Monday.  

These meals are for students, however, and not for the entire family.  

The Homeless Backpack program does amazing work as well, sending home approximately 275 weekend bags to those in need. Our partnership with TOGETHER! of Thurston County, and their collective agencies also provide food and resources to families.  

I am also extremely proud of the creative efforts by our schools, PTA’s, PTO’s and Booster Clubs who have reimagined their holiday giving events during the pandemic. Even with these networks, however, there is still need.  

We are very concerned about food insecurity when we go to break in late December because the student lunch program will stop for the two weeks school is out.  

Just like we did in providing a high volume of family meals for Thanksgiving, our district will partner with community agencies and entities to support food distribution across Yelm.  

What I do know about our community is that where there is need, there is energy to help. Below are a few food resources available during the holidays, and I am sure more will become available soon.  

 

Yelm Community Services 

Christmas Dinner from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 23

Food Bank open 1- 3:45 p.m. on Thursdays

 

Yelm Prairie Christian

Christmas Dinner 2-4 p.m., Dec. 24 

New Year Eve Dinner 2-4 p.m., Dec. 31

 

Rainier Emergency Food Center

9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Wednesdays and Saturdays 

 

Please consider making a contribution to support families in need of food during the holidays.  Also, if you know of a family in need who has students in our schools, please contact the counseling staff at the building.  

We will network with our community partners to help. Please check our website regularly as we will post all community food distribution events we can identify.  

To our families, please remember to sign up for the free and reduced priced meals program through your local school.  

Even with the free meal program this year, it is important to complete the application every year.  Qualifying for this program also creates eligibility for the College Bound Tuition Program.  College Bound provides tuition assistance for students when they graduate and move on to higher education. 

Thank you for partnering with us during the holidays. We can all make a positive difference within our community. Please enjoy a safe, healthy and joyous holiday season.  

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Brian Wharton is the superintendent for Yelm Community Schools.

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