Norwalk parents start food drive for food-insecure students
NORWALK — A group of volunteers is working with Norwalk schools to collect non-perishable food that will then be distributed to shelters and food banks throughout the city.
Jodi Honig Przybisiki, a parent of students at Roton Middle School and Brien McMahon High School, said she started the drive after having a conversation with Audra Good, library media specialist at Brookside Elementary School, who was concerned about families facing food insecurity in the event of a school shutdown.
Norwalk Public Schools announced a two-week closure beginning March 16 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Schools were open Friday but with a two-hour early dismissal.
“We were talking about people who maybe aren’t in need every day, but if they didn’t get a paycheck for two weeks, how are they going to feed their children?” Przybisiki said. “I couldn’t even imagine having to worry about how I was going to feed my two children.”
On Wednesday, Przybisiki posted her concerns on the Facebook group “Norwalk Parents for Education,” and began recruiting volunteers to collect food and other supplies at eight schools on Friday, during drop-off and dismissal.
On Friday morning, volunteers were stationed at Rowayton, Brookside, Fox Run, Columbus, Wolfpit and Naramake elementary schools; Roton, Nathan Hale and Ponus middle schools; and Norwalk and Brien McMahon high schools. Collection will continue in the afternoon, with the addition of Tracey and Silvermine elementary schools. Columbus and Wolfpit schools will not have afternoon collections.
“Non-perishables are mostly what we’re looking for,” Przybisiki said. “But we added toilet paper to the list, because that’s in high demand right now. Canned goods, pasta. Open Door stressed that they would really like some things that are easy for younger children to make for themselves, like canned Chef Boyardee, peanut butter, rice, beans.”
Items collected in the morning were donated to the Open Door Shelter and Person to Person. Przybisiki said she will continue to assess the situation and is considering continuing collection over the weekend or next week.
“I think we have to go forward,” Przybisiki said. “I’ve been working with directors at the Open Door Shelter and Person to Person. My plan is to reconnect with both of them this afternoon to see what they need and what we can do and get back out there again.”
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