Holiday Season, Holiday Giving

Shanna McVey had a problem.  Her students in the Visual Resource Center were going to have a charity drive of some sort; she just did not know for whom or what.  She had her students do research on various charities, and they believed they found one they wanted to start a drive for.  She did a little research on her own, and found the charity her students liked.  When she presented the idea to the class, it was a unanimous decision.  The Visual Resource Center would be running a food drive for the local charity “Food for Others.”

For the students in the Visual Resource Center, this was a way for them to help give back to the community that has given them help over the years.  The food drive built up a trip the students from the VRC take into the real world, called Orientation and Mobility Lessons.  They use public transportation and other items to help guide them outside the walls of school.

“Food is such a basic need,” said Jessica Cogen, the Director of Development and Outreach at the charity.  “It’s the beginning of success in people’s lives.”

“Food for Others” obtains its food donations mainly two ways: donations to their facility and food drives, especially in schools.  School food drives are the backbone of the operation at “Food for Others”; they are the main resource for the charity to get food to the less fortunate.

“Food drives like yours are great for us,” Cogen said.  “They’re what keep us going.”

At school, the Visual Resource Cebter students spearhead the project out of their love for it. Students avidly sorted and checked the boxes in room 409 daily from mid-Nov. to Dec. 14.  The students happily carried out the project, enjoying their daily routine.

“I think that our students are enjoying this experience: they now have the opportunity to give back to the community in the best way possible,” Mrs. McVey said.

In room 409, three cardboard boxes sat filled with cans and other non-perishable food items that were donated to “Food for Others.”  While the students from the VRC all donated, the bulk of the food collected was not from them. Students from all over school donated, and many students believe the food drive is a great thing for the school.

“My dad does stuff like “Food for Others,” and I think that charities are a great way to give back to the community,” freshman Justin Gressett said.

“Food drives and food banks are a great way to give back to the community,” freshman Stephanie Vu said.

School food drives are an integral part of the food charity business.  Many local food banks rely on food drives to keep their shelves stocked.  “Food for Others” is always looking for new volunteers to help them, and it is possible to register straight from their facility in Merrifield.  During this time of the year, when many people overindulge themselves, it is easy to forget the less fortunate in every community.  Food drives like the one the school’s Visual Resource Center runs help everyone remember.

While “Food for Others” may not be going door to door asking for donations, they certainly make their mark as a charity.  Less fortunate all over Northern Virginia depend on the charity to deliver food and give them hope, both for the short term and the long term.  While the school food drive may have ended Dec. 14, that does not mean “Food for Others” has stopped taking donations.  During the holiday season, it is easy to forget not everyone has a warm home and a holiday dinner around them. “Food for Others” helps them feel more important in the community, and gives them the opportunity to climb out of the hole they are in.