At their regular school board meeting on Monday, December 7, 2020 the City of Fairfax School Board honored three community groups for their support of the City of Fairfax schools. The three groups are long partners and supporters of students and staff, but increased their charity in 2020 due to the pandemic and school closures. The City School Board was joined by the principals at all four city schools to say thank you to the organizations.
City of Fairfax Fire Department
From backpack drives to providing winter coats to our elementary schools each year, the City of Fairfax Fire Department has always been a strong supporter of the City schools. Many members of the fire department mentor, participate in career days and read at Read Across America days each spring.
This year, the City of Fairfax Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Local 2702 launched the “Masks and Macs” campaign, an effort to recognize hard working teachers during the pandemic. Citizens can sponsor a care package for teachers for $15 to provide City of Fairfax school teachers with an N95 mask and macaroni and cheese.
Daniels Run Elementary School principal Mr. Chris Smith says “The City of Fairfax Fire Department is a great partner to our city schools. The department is currently sponsoring the "Masks and Mac" campaign to support City teachers with a mask and macaroni cheese. Their coat and backpack drives have benefited many students and families in the city. We can't wait to have them back in our building to visit our students.”
The second recognition was for the Fairfax Rotary. Like the fire department, the Rotary is a long supporter of City schools. For many years, the Rotary has provided dictionaries to third grade students and last year purchased constitution booklets for every 8th grader at Lanier Middle School. In the spring of every school year, the Rotary recognizes two City teachers as their Teacher of the Year for elementary and secondary education. The Rotary also sponsors annual student essay and speech contests to recognize citizenship and community. In June, the Rotary provides scholarships for Fairfax High School seniors. This year alone, they awarded over $20,000 in scholarships to graduates.
But in 2020 the Rotary realized there was a greater need in the community and stepped in to help even more students and families. This summer, they approached City of Fairfax Superintendent Dr. Pajardo and asked how they could help city students in need. Dr. Pajardo connected the Rotary with A Place to Eat who is dedicated to provide supplemental food to city students. To date, the Rotary has written two checks to A Place to Eat for totaling almost $9000 which will help feed over 250 city school families.
Mr. Dan Phillips, principal of Providence Elementary School said, “The City of Fairfax Rotary Club annually donates dictionaries to the third graders at Providence and Daniels Run, and our students are always excited to receive them. We also appreciate the chance to nominate and celebrate a teacher from our schools when they recognize the Rotary Teacher of the Year. This fall, the Rotary stepped forward with a generous contribution to A Place to Stand, which in turn feed many of our families who have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Our school community is stronger because of their support of our schools and students.”
A Place to Eat
A Place to Eat is a division of the non-profit organization A Place to Stand, a local non-profit dedicating to eradicating homelessness and hunger.
Before the COVID pandemic, A Place to Eat partnered with our schools to establish food pantries for students and families in need. When the schools shut down this past March, A Place to Eat quickly stepped into action. Each month for the past nine months, A Place to Eat organized volunteers to donate, pick up, organize, pack and distribute food and gift cards for over 265 City of Fairfax School families.
A Place to Eat is a 100 percent volunteer run organization, headed by Katy Malesky, a city resident and city school parent. Katy has tirelessly worked to organize hundreds of volunteers and donations, thousands of pounds of groceries and works with local businesses and organizations to bring food to our neediest families. A Place to Eat has not only collected canned goods and shelf stable food, but has created a program for volunteers to go to local farmers markets to get excess produce not sold on the weekends to be delivered to families so they have fresh fruits and vegetables.
Lanier Middle School Principal Dr. Tammy Hanna said; “We are so proud of the work that A Place to Eat has done in our community to help families during these unprecedented times. We know that food insecurities are real concerns for many of our students even before COVID hit so close to home. Now more than ever, A Place to Eat has been able to stand in the gap and bring needed assurances to families that this basic need we often take for granted can be met.”
Fairfax High School principal Dr. Erin Lenart summed it up perfectly when she said; “A Place to Stand is a place that makes a difference. We are so thankful for their partnership and support of our students and community.”
The three groups will be sent a certificate from the school board to thank them for their ongoing support and service.